Open Access Nano Review

Nanoparticles for Applications in Cellular Imaging

K Ted Thurn1, EricMB Brown1, Aiguo Wu1, Stefan Vogt2, Barry Lai2, Jörg Maser3, Tatjana Paunesku14 and Gayle E Woloschak145*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Radiation Oncology, Northwestern University, Robert E. Lurie Cancer Center, Feinberg School of Medicine, 303 E. Chicago Ave. Ward Building Room 13-007, Chicago, IL, 60611, USA

2 X-Ray Science Division, Advanced Photon Source, Argonne National Laboratory, Argonne, IL, 60439, USA

3 Center for Nanoscale Materials, Advanced Photon Source, Argonne National Laboratory, Argonne, IL, 60439, USA

4 Department of Radiology, Northwestern University, Robert E. Lurie Cancer Center, Feinberg School of Medicine, 303 E. Chicago Ave. Ward Building Room 13-007, Chicago, IL, 60611, USA

5 Department of Cell and Molecular Biology, Northwestern University, Robert E. Lurie Cancer Center, Feinberg School of Medicine, 303 E. Chicago Ave. Ward Building Room 13-007, Chicago, IL, 60611, USA

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Nanoscale Research Letters 2007, 2:430-441  doi:10.1007/s11671-007-9081-5

Published: 15 August 2007

Abstract

In the following review we discuss several types of nanoparticles (such as TiO2, quantum dots, and gold nanoparticles) and their impact on the ability to image biological components in fixed cells. The review also discusses factors influencing nanoparticle imaging and uptake in live cells in vitro. Due to their unique size-dependent properties nanoparticles offer numerous advantages over traditional dyes and proteins. For example, the photostability, narrow emission peak, and ability to rationally modify both the size and surface chemistry of Quantum Dots allow for simultaneous analyses of multiple targets within the same cell. On the other hand, the surface characteristics of nanometer sized TiO2allow efficient conjugation to nucleic acids which enables their retention in specific subcellular compartments. We discuss cellular uptake mechanisms for the internalization of nanoparticles and studies showing the influence of nanoparticle size and charge and the cell type targeted on nanoparticle uptake. The predominant nanoparticle uptake mechanisms include clathrin-dependent mechanisms, macropinocytosis, and phagocytosis.

Keywords:
Nanoparticle; Cellular uptake; Quantum dots; Titanium dioxide