Self-delivering nanoemulsions for dual fluorine-19 MRI and fluorescence detection

J Am Chem Soc. 2008 Mar 5;130(9):2832-41. doi: 10.1021/ja077388j. Epub 2008 Feb 12.


We report the design, synthesis, and biological testing of highly stable, nontoxic perfluoropolyether (PFPE) nanoemulsions for dual 19F MRI-fluorescence detection. A linear PFPE polymer was covalently conjugated to common fluorescent dyes (FITC, Alexa647 and BODIPy-TR), mixed with pluronic F68 and linear polyethyleneimine (PEI), and emulsified by microfluidization. Prepared nanoemulsions (<200 nm) were readily taken up by both phagocytic and non-phagocytic cells in vitro after a short (approximately 3 h) co-incubation. Following cell administration in vivo, 19F MRI selectively visualizes cell migration. Exemplary in vivo MRI images are presented of T cells labeled with a dual-mode nanoemulsion in a BALB/c mouse. Fluorescence detection enables fluorescent microscopy and FACS analysis of labeled cells, as demonstrated in several immune cell types including Jurkat cells, primary T cells and dendritic cells. The intracellular fluorescence signal is directly proportional to the 19F NMR signal and can be used to calibrate cell loading in vitro.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Line
  • Cell Proliferation / drug effects
  • Cell Survival / drug effects
  • Contrast Media / chemical synthesis
  • Contrast Media / chemistry*
  • Contrast Media / pharmacokinetics
  • Emulsions / chemistry*
  • Ethers / chemistry
  • Fluorescence
  • Fluorescent Dyes / chemical synthesis
  • Fluorescent Dyes / chemistry*
  • Fluorescent Dyes / pharmacokinetics
  • Fluorine / chemistry*
  • Fluorocarbons / chemistry
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy / methods
  • Mice
  • Microscopy, Fluorescence
  • Molecular Structure
  • Nanostructures / chemistry*
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • T-Lymphocytes / drug effects
  • T-Lymphocytes / metabolism


  • Contrast Media
  • Emulsions
  • Ethers
  • Fluorescent Dyes
  • Fluorocarbons
  • Fluorine