Long wavelength excitable near-infrared fluorescent nanoparticles with aggregation-induced emission characteristics for image-guided tumor resection
Near infrared (NIR) fluorescence imaging (700–900 nm) is a promising technology in preclinical and clinical tumor diagnosis and therapy. The availability of excellent NIR fluorescent contrast agents is still the main barrier to implementing this technology. Herein, we report the design and synthesis of two series of NIR fluorescent molecules with long wavelength excitation and aggregation-induced emission (AIE) characteristics by fine-tuning their molecular structures and substituents. Further self-assembly between an amphiphilic block co-polymer and the obtained AIE molecules leads to AIE nanoparticles (AIE NPs), which have absorption maxima at 635 nm and emission maxima between 800 and 815 nm with quantum yields of up to 4.8% in aggregated states. In vitro and in vivo toxicity results demonstrate that the synthesized AIE NPs are biocompatible. Finally, the synthesized AIE NPs have been successfully used for image-guided tumor resection with a high tumor-to-normal tissue signal ratio of 7.2.