Ag2S quantum dots (QDs) have been demonstrated as a promising near-infrared II (NIR-II, 1.0-1.4 μm) emitting nanoprobe for in vivo imaging and detection. In this work, we carefully study the long-term in vivo biodistribution of Ag2S QDs functionalized with polyethylene glycol (PEG) and systematically examine the potential toxicity of Ag2S QDs over time. Our results show that PEGylated-Ag2S QDs are mainly accumulated in the reticuloendothelial system (RES) including liver and spleen after intravenous administration and can be gradually cleared, mostly by fecal excretion. PEGylated-Ag2S QDs do not cause appreciable toxicity at our tested doses (15 and 30 mg/kg) to the treated mice over a period of 2 months as evidenced by blood biochemistry, hematological analysis and histological examinations. Our work lays a solid foundation for further biomedical applications of Ag2S QDs as an important in vivo imaging agent in the NIR-II region.
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