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A brand-new generation of fluorescent nano-neural tracers: biotinylated dextran amine conjugated carbonized polymer dots

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Abstract

The anterograde neuroanatomical tracing technique plays a crucial role in studying and charting the complex interconnections of the nervous system. But there are several major limitations for traditional neural tracers, such as complex immunohistochemical staining procedures, low fluorescence intensity and quick fluorescence quenching. Carbon dots (CDs) as fluorescent bio-probes have been widely used in the biological studies due to their superior optical properties, excellent chemical stability, low toxicity, and easy modifications. In this study, biotinylated dextran amine (BDA) and red fluorescent carbonized polymer dots (CPDs) are successfully conjugated to develop a brand-new generation of fluorescent nano-neural tracers: BDA–CPDs. They are successfully applied as fluorescent probes for in vitro and in vivo bioimaging. In vitro biodistribution of BDA–CPDs shows that they distribute mainly in lysosomes and endoplasmic reticulum. Moreover, two metabolic pathways of BDA–CPDs are found through the investigation of in vivo biodistribution of BDA–CPDs. Furthermore, they can be taken up and anterogradely transported by neurons within the peripheral nervous system of rats. Our results suggest that BDA–CPDs have many advantages over traditional tracers, such as low toxicity, high photoluminescence intensity, excellent photostability and easy procedures. Anterograde pathway tracing with BDA–CPDs is a simple, direct and economical way of studying the connections in the nervous system. Therefore, BDA–CPDs are reliable and valuable fluorescent anterograde neural tracers.

Graphical abstract: A brand-new generation of fluorescent nano-neural tracers: biotinylated dextran amine conjugated carbonized polymer dots

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Publication details

The article was received on 14 Oct 2018, accepted on 26 Dec 2018 and first published on 28 Jan 2019


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C8BM01295D
Citation: Biomater. Sci., 2019, Advance Article

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    A brand-new generation of fluorescent nano-neural tracers: biotinylated dextran amine conjugated carbonized polymer dots

    Y. Liu, J. Liu, J. Zhang, X. Li, F. Lin, N. Zhou, B. Yang and L. Lu, Biomater. Sci., 2019, Advance Article , DOI: 10.1039/C8BM01295D

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