Construction of a multifunctional nanoprobe for tumor-targeted time-gated luminescence and magnetic resonance imaging in vitro and in vivo
A dual-modal fluorescence-magnetic resonance imaging technique has gained tremendous attention for its potential in the dawning era of early diagnosis of tumors with high accuracy. In this study, a facile approach has been developed to prepare a tumor-targetable nanoprobe, PTTA-Eu3+-CoFeO-FA nanoparticles, for dual-modal time-gated luminescence (TGL)–magnetic resonance (MR) imaging of tumor cells in vitro and in vivo. The multifunctional nanoprobe was constructed by coating a tumor-targeting molecule, folic acid (FA), and a luminescent Eu3+ complex, PTTA-Eu3+, onto the surface of cobalt/iron oxide (CoFeO) nanoparticles. The as-prepared PTTA-Eu3+-CoFeO-FA nanoparticles are well dispersed in water with good biocompatibility, strong long-lived luminescence as well as pronounced transverse relaxivity. The in vitro study reveals that the nanoprobe works well as an effective luminescent probe to achieve the targeted TGL imaging of RAW 264.7 cells without the interference of background fluorescence, and the results of in vivo dual-modal TGL–MR imaging indicate that the fabricated nanoprobe can be preferentially accumulated in the tumor to effectively enhance the signals of T2-weighted MR imaging and TGL imaging. The research achievements will contribute to the development of new dual-modal fluorescence-MR nanoprobes for application in clinical diagnosis and therapy of tumors.