Near-infrared fluorescent aza-BODIPY dye-loaded biodegradable polymeric nanoparticles for optical cancer imaging

Casey L. Hamon, Christopher L. Dorsey, Tuğba Özel, Eugenia M. Barnes, Todd W. Hudnall, Tania Betancourt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Abstract: Nanoparticles are being readily investigated as carriers for the delivery of imaging and therapeutic agents for the detection, monitoring, and treatment of cancer and other diseases. In the present work, the preparation of biodegradable polymeric nanoparticles loaded with a near-infrared fluorescent aza-boron dipyrromethene (NIR-BODIPY) derivative, and their use as contrast agents for optical imaging in cancer are described. Nanoparticles were prepared by nanoprecipitation of amphiphilic block copolymers of poly(lactic acid) and poly(ethylene glycol). The size, morphology, dye loading, spectral properties, quantum yield, cytocompatibility, and in vitro NIR imaging potential of the nanoparticles in breast and ovarian cancer cells were evaluated. Spherical nanoparticles of 30–70 nm in diameter were loaded with 0.73 w/w% BODIPY derivative. At this loading, the dye presented a fluorescence quantum yield in the same order of magnitude as in solution. Nanoparticle suspensions at concentrations up to 580 μg/mL were cytocompatible to breast (MDA-MB-231) and ovarian (SKOV-3 and Caov-3) cancer cells after a four-hour incubation period. Fluorescence microscopy images demonstrated the ability of the nanoparticles to act as imaging agents in all three cell lines in as little as 1 hour. The results shown indicate the potential of these NIR-BODIPY-loaded nanoparticles as contrast agents for near-infrared optical imaging in cancer. Graphical abstract: [Figure not available: see fulltext.]

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number207
JournalJournal of Nanoparticle Research
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jun 1 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016, Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht.


  • Biodegradable polymers
  • Block copolymers
  • Nanomedicine
  • Near-infrared fluorescence
  • Optical imaging
  • Quantum yield


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