Near-infrared imaging method for the in vivo assessment of the biodistribution of nanoporous silicon particles

Ennio Tasciotti, Biana Godin, Jonathan O. Martinez, Ciro Chiappini, Rohan Bhavane, Xuewu Liu, Mauro Ferrari

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

58 Scopus citations


In the development of new nanoparticle-based technologies for therapeutic and diagnostic purposes, understanding the fate of nanoparticles in the body is crucial. We recently developed a multistage vector delivery system comprising biodegradable and biocompatible nanoporous silicon particles (first-stage microparticles [S1MPs]) able to host, protect, and deliver second-stage therapeutic and diagnostic nanoparticles (S2NPs) on intravenous injection. This delivery system aims at sequentially overcoming the biologic barriers en route to the target delivery site by separating and assigning tasks to the coordinated logic-embedded vectors constituting it. In this work, by conjugating a near-infrared dye on the surface of the S1MP without compromising the porous structure and potential loading of S2NPs, we were able to monitor the in vivo distribution of S1MPs in healthy mice using an optical imaging system. It was observed that particles predominantly accumulated in the liver and spleen at the end of 24 hours. Further quantification of S1MPs in the major organs of the animals by elemental analysis of silicon using inductively coupled plasma-atomic electron spectroscopy verified the accuracy of in vivo near-infrared imaging as a tool for evaluation of nanovector biodistribution.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)56-68
Number of pages13
JournalMolecular imaging
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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