In vivo imaging of T cells loaded with gold nanoparticles: A pilot study

Hui Li, Laura Diaz, Daniel Lee, Lei Cui, Xin Liang, Yingsheng Cheng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Purpose: Malignant tumours develop strategies to avoid immune recognition and elimination by T cells, even in individuals with a fully functioning immune system. To explore the treatment approach of adoptive immunotherapy, we exploited T cells loaded with radiolabelled gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) to track T cells in vivo. Materials and methods: Surface-modified AuNPs were radiolabelled with 111In or 64Cu. They were then transferred into T cells via electroporation. To evaluate the effectiveness of this process, T cells loaded with 111In-radiolabelled AuNPs were injected directly into the right lung of nude mice for in vivo imaging by micro-SPECT/CT. T cells loaded with 64Cu-radiolabelled AuNPs were then injected into the tail vein of nude mice and imaged by micro-PET/CT. Results: High uptake signals were observed in the right lung following the direct injection of T cells containing 111In-labelled AuNPs. Imaging showed a marked difference in the dynamic biodistribution of T cells containing 64Cu-labelled AuNPs when compared with 64Cu-labelled AuNPs alone. Conclusions: This study demonstrated the feasibility of the in vivo imaging of T cells loaded with radiolabelled AuNPs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)269-276
Number of pages8
JournalRadiologia Medica
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2014


  • Gold nanoparticles
  • In vivo imaging
  • T cells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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