Imaging macrophages with nanoparticles

Nat Mater. 2014 Feb;13(2):125-38. doi: 10.1038/nmat3780.


Nanomaterials have much to offer, not only in deciphering innate immune cell biology and tracking cells, but also in advancing personalized clinical care by providing diagnostic and prognostic information, quantifying treatment efficacy and designing better therapeutics. This Review presents different types of nanomaterial, their biological properties and their applications for imaging macrophages in human diseases, including cancer, atherosclerosis, myocardial infarction, aortic aneurysm, diabetes and other conditions. We anticipate that future needs will include the development of nanomaterials that are specific for immune cell subsets and can be used as imaging surrogates for nanotherapeutics. New in vivo imaging clinical tools for noninvasive macrophage quantification are thus ultimately expected to become relevant to predicting patients' clinical outcome, defining treatment options and monitoring responses to therapy.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Cell Tracking / methods*
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / pathology*
  • Macrophages / immunology*
  • Macrophages / pathology*
  • Nanoparticles*