Multifunctional dendrimer-based nanoparticles for in vivo MR/CT dual-modal molecular imaging of breast cancer

Kangan Li, Shihui Wen, Andrew C. Larson, Mingwu Shen, Zhuoli Zhang, Qian Chen, Xiangyang Shi*, Guixiang Zhang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Scopus citations


Development of dual-mode or multi-mode imaging contrast agents is important for accurate and self-confirmatory diagnosis of cancer. We report a new multifunctional, dendrimer-based gold nanoparticle (AuNP) as a dual-modality contrast agent for magnetic resonance (MR)/computed tomography (CT) imaging of breast cancer cells in vitro and in vivo. In this study, amine-terminated generation 5 poly(amidoamine) dendrimers modified with gadolinium chelate (DOTA-NHS) and polyethylene glycol monomethyl ether were used as templates to synthesize AuNPs, followed by Gd(III) chelation and acetylation of the remaining dendrimer terminal amine groups; multifunctional dendrimer-entrapped AuNPs (Gd-Au DENPs) were formed. The formed Gd-Au DENPs were used for both in vitro and in vivo MR/CT imaging of human MCF-7 cancer cells. Both MR and CT images demonstrate that MCF-7 cells and the xenograft tumor model can be effectively imaged. The Gd-Au DENPs uptake, mainly in the cell cytoplasm, was confirmed by transmission electron microscopy. The cell cytotoxicity assay, cell morphology observation, and flow cytometry show that the developed Gd-Au DENPs have good biocompatibility in the given concentration range. Our results clearly suggest that the synthetic Gd-Au DENPs are amenable for dual-modality MR/CT imaging of breast cancer cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2589-2600
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Nanomedicine
StatePublished - Jul 18 2013


  • Breast cancer cells
  • CT imaging
  • Gadolinium
  • Gold nanoparticles
  • MR imaging
  • PAMAM dendrimers
  • PEGylation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Bioengineering
  • Biomaterials
  • Pharmaceutical Science
  • Drug Discovery
  • Organic Chemistry


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