Core-shell silica nanoparticles as fluorescent labels for nanomedicine

J Biomed Opt. Nov-Dec 2007;12(6):064007. doi: 10.1117/1.2823149.


Progress in biomedical imaging depends on the development of probes that combine low toxicity with high sensitivity, resolution, and stability. Toward that end, a new class of highly fluorescent core-shell silica nanoparticles with narrow size distributions and enhanced photostability, known as C dots, provide an appealing alternative to quantum dots. Here, C dots are evaluated with a particular emphasis on in-vivo applications in cancer biology. It is established that C dots are nontoxic at biologically relevant concentrations, and can be used in a broad range of imaging applications including intravital visualization of capillaries and macrophages, sentinel lymph node mapping, and peptide-mediated multicolor cell labeling for real-time imaging of tumor metastasis and tracking of injected bone marrow cells in mice. These results demonstrate that fluorescent core-shell silica nanoparticles represent a powerful novel imaging tool within the emerging field of nanomedicine.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Diagnostic Imaging / methods
  • Female
  • Fluorescent Dyes* / pharmacokinetics
  • Fluorescent Dyes* / toxicity
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred ICR
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Microscopy, Electron, Scanning
  • Nanomedicine
  • Nanoparticles* / toxicity
  • Nanoparticles* / ultrastructure
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / pathology
  • Quantum Dots*
  • Sentinel Lymph Node Biopsy
  • Silicon Dioxide* / pharmacokinetics
  • Silicon Dioxide* / toxicity
  • Tissue Distribution


  • Fluorescent Dyes
  • Silicon Dioxide