Spherical and rod-shaped gold nanoparticles with surface poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) chains were characterized for size, shape, charge, poly dispersity and surface plasmon resonance. The nanoparticles were injected intravenously to 6-8-week-old female nu/nu mice bearing orthotopic ovarian tumors, and their biodistribution in vital organs was compared. Gold nanorods were taken up to a lesser extent by the liver, had longer circulation time in the blood, and higher accumulation in the tumors, compared with their spherical counterparts. The cellular uptake of PEGylated gold nanoparticles by a murine macrophage-like cell line as a function of geometry was examined. Compared to nanospheres, PEGylated gold nanorods were taken up to a lesser extent by macrophages. These studies point to the importance of gold nanoparticle geometry and surface properties on transport across biological barriers.
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