AuGd integrated nanoprobes for optical/MRI/CT triple-modal in vivo tumor imaging†
Multi-modal imaging agents are desirable for tumor diagnosis because they can provide more information on the tumor than single-modal imaging agents. However, most reported multi-modal imaging agents are dual-modal agents rather than tri-modal agents; therefore, detailed information on the tumor may still be insufficient when such imaging agents are used. To ameliorate this issue, we synthesized a tri-modal imaging agent, composed of gold cluster and gadolinium oxide integrated nanoparticles (denoted as AuGds) using bovine serum albumin (BSA) as the template via a bio-mineralization method. The AuGds exhibit red fluorescence at ∼660 nm for optical imaging, strong X-ray absorption (around 700 HU) for CT imaging, and a high r1 value (∼12.39 mM−1 s−1) for MR imaging. After being chemically modified with folic acid (FA), the AuGds can specifically target folate receptors on KB tumor cells, and permit in vivo optical, MR, and CT imaging of xenografted tumors. By comparing these three imaging modalities, very clear structural and anatomical information on the in vivo tumor can be obtained. The AuGds show good biocompatibility, quick renal clearance, and do not induce normal tissue toxicity in vivo.