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In Journal of nanobiotechnology

Cerenkov luminescence imaging (CLI) is a novel optical imaging technique that has been applied in clinic using various radionuclides and radiopharmaceuticals. However, clinical application of CLI has been limited by weak optical signal and restricted tissue penetration depth. Various fluorescent probes have been combined with radiopharmaceuticals for improved imaging performances. However, as most of these probes only interact with Cerenkov luminescence (CL), the low photon fluence of CL greatly restricted it's interaction with fluorescent probes for in vivo imaging. Therefore, it is important to develop probes that can effectively convert energy beyond CL such as β and γ to the low energy optical signals. In this study, a Eu3+ doped gadolinium oxide (Gd2O3:Eu) was synthesized and combined with radiopharmaceuticals to achieve a red-shifted optical spectrum with less tissue scattering and enhanced optical signal intensity in this study. The interaction between Gd2O3:Eu and radiopharmaceutical were investigated using 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose (18F-FDG). The ex vivo optical signal intensity of the mixture of Gd2O3:Eu and 18F-FDG reached 369 times as high as that of CLI using 18F-FDG alone. To achieve improved biocompatibility, the Gd2O3:Eu nanoparticles were then modified with polyvinyl alcohol (PVA), and the resulted nanoprobe PVA modified Gd2O3:Eu (Gd2O3:Eu@PVA) was applied in intraoperative tumor imaging. Compared with 18F-FDG alone, intraoperative administration of Gd2O3:Eu@PVA and 18F-FDG combination achieved a much higher tumor-to-normal tissue ratio (TNR, 10.24 ± 2.24 vs. 1.87 ± 0.73, P = 0.0030). The use of Gd2O3:Eu@PVA and 18F-FDG also assisted intraoperative detection of tumors that were omitted by preoperative positron emission tomography (PET) imaging. Further experiment of image-guided surgery demonstrated feasibility of image-guided tumor resection using Gd2O3:Eu@PVA and 18F-FDG. In summary, Gd2O3:Eu can achieve significantly optimized imaging property when combined with 18F-FDG in intraoperative tumor imaging and image-guided tumor resection surgery. It is expected that the development of the Gd2O3:Eu nanoparticle will promote investigation and application of novel nanoparticles that can interact with radiopharmaceuticals for improved imaging properties. This work highlighted the impact of the nanoprobe that can be excited by radiopharmaceuticals emitting CL, β, and γ radiation for precisely imaging of tumor and intraoperatively guide tumor resection.

Shi Xiaojing, Cao Caiguang, Zhang Zeyu, Tian Jie, Hu Zhenhua


Cerenkov luminescence imaging, Gd2O3:Eu, Image-guided surgery, Optical imaging, Radiopharmaceuticals