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Optical imaging of head and neck squamous cell carcinoma in vivo using arginine-glycine- aspartic acid peptide conjugated near-infrared quantum dots
Authors Huang H, Bai Y, Yang K, Tang H, Wang Y
Received 2 September 2013
Accepted for publication 12 October 2013
Published 2 December 2013 Volume 2013:6 Pages 1779—1787
Checked for plagiarism Yes
Review by Single anonymous peer review
Peer reviewer comments 2
Hao Huang, Yun-Long Bai, Kai Yang, Hong Tang, You-Wei Wang
Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, The First Affiliated Hospital of Chongqing Medical University, Chongqing, People's Republic of China
Abstract: Molecular imaging plays a key role in personalized medicine and tumor diagnosis. Quantum dots with near-infrared emission spectra demonstrate excellent tissue penetration and photostability, and have recently emerged as important tools for in vivo tumor imaging. Integrin αvβ3 has been shown to be highly and specifically expressed in endothelial cells of tumor angiogenic vessels in almost all types of tumors, and specifically binds to the peptide containing arginine-glycine-aspartic acid (RGD). In this study, we conjugated RGD with quantum dots with emission wavelength of 800 nm (QD800) to generate QD800-RGD, and used it via intravenous injection as a probe to image tumors in nude mice bearing head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC). Twelve hours after the injection, the mice were still alive and were sacrificed to isolate tumors and ten major organs for ex vivo analysis to localize the probe in these tissues. The results showed that QD800-RGD was specifically targeted to integrin αvβ3 in vitro and in vivo, producing clear tumor fluorescence images after the intravenous injection. The tumor-to-background ratio and size of tumor image were highest within 6 hours of the injection and declined significantly at 9 hours after the injection, but there was still a clearly visible tumor image at 12 hours. The greatest amount of QD800-RGD was found in liver and spleen, followed by tumor and lung, and a weak fluorescence signal was seen in tibia. No detectable signal of QD800-RGD was found in brain, heart, kidney, testis, stomach, or intestine. Our study demonstrated that using integrin αvβ3 as target, it is possible to use intravenously injected QD800-RGD to generate high quality images of HNSCC, and the technique offers great potential in the diagnosis and personalized therapy for HNSCC.
Keywords: nanotechnology, near-infrared fluorescence, tumor angiogenic vessel, head and neck cancer, in vivo imaging
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