Nanoparticles for applications in cellular imaging

K. Ted Thurn, Eric M.B. Brown, Aiguo Wu, Stefan Vogt, Barry Lai, Jörg Maser, Tatjana Paunesku, Gayle E Woloschak*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

143 Scopus citations


In the following review we discuss several types of nanoparticles (such as TiO 2, quantum dots, and gold nanoparticles) and their impact on the ability to image biological components in fixed cells. The review also discusses factors influencing nanoparticle imaging and uptake in live cells in vitro. Due to their unique size-dependent properties nanoparticles offer numerous advantages over traditional dyes and proteins. For example, the photostability, narrow emission peak, and ability to rationally modify both the size and surface chemistry of Quantum Dots allow for simultaneous analyses of multiple targets within the same cell. On the other hand, the surface characteristics of nanometer sized TiO 2 allow efficient conjugation to nucleic acids which enables their retention in specific subcellular compartments. We discuss cellular uptake mechanisms for the internalization of nanoparticles and studies showing the influence of nanoparticle size and charge and the cell type targeted on nanoparticle uptake. The predominant nanoparticle uptake mechanisms include clathrin-dependent mechanisms, macropinocytosis, and phagocytosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)430-441
Number of pages12
JournalNanoscale Research Letters
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2007


  • Cellular uptake
  • Nanoparticle
  • Quantum dots
  • Titanium dioxide

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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