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Published March 2010 | Accepted Version
Journal Article Open

Photoacoustic imaging of living mouse brain vasculature using hollow gold nanospheres


Photoacoustic tomography (PAT) also referred to as optoacoustic tomography (OAT) is a hybrid imaging modality that employs nonionizing optical radiation and ultrasonic detection. Here, we describe the application of a new class of optical contrast agents based on mesoscopic hollow gold nanospheres (HAuNS) to PAT. HAuNS are ∼40 nm in diameter with a hollow interior and consist of a thin gold wall. They display strong resonance absorption tuned to the near-infrared (NIR) range, with an absorption peak at 800 nm, whose photoacoustic efficiency is significantly greater than that of blood. Following surface conjugation with thiolated poly(ethylene glycol), the pegylated HAuNS (PEG-HAuNS) had distribution and elimination half-lives of 1.38 ± 0.38 and 71.82 ± 30.46 h, respectively. Compared with PAT images based on the intrinsic optical contrast in nude mice, the PAT images acquired within 2 h after intravenous administration of PEG-HAuNS showed the brain vasculature with greater clarity and detail. The image depicted brain blood vessels as small as ∼100 μm in diameter using PEG-HAuNS as contrast agents. Preliminary results showed no acute toxicity to the liver, spleen, or kidneys in mice following a single imaging dose of PEG-HAuNS. Our results indicate that PEG-HAuNS are promising contrast agents for PAT, with high spatial resolution and enhanced sensitivity.

Additional Information

© 2009 Elsevier Ltd. Received 20 November 2009; Accepted 1 December 2009; Available online 24 December 2009. We thank Dawn Chalaire for editing the manuscript. This work was supported in part by a grant from the National Institutes of Health (R01 CA119387 and R44 CA110137), a Seed Grant through the Alliance for NanoHealth by the Department of Army Telemedicine and Advanced Technology Research Center (W81XWH-07-2-0101), and by the John S. Dunn Foundation.

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Accepted Version - nihms167537.pdf


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