In vitro Quality Assessments of Perfluorocarbon Nanoemulsions for Near-infrared Fluorescence Imaging of Inflammation in Preclinical Models



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Journal Article

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Colloidal stability, Fluorescence stability, In vitro validation, Nanoemulsions (NEs), Near-infrared fluorescence (NIRF), Perfluorocarbon (PFC), Quality control


Tracking macrophages by non-invasive molecular imaging can provide useful insights into the immunobiology of inflammatory disorders in preclinical disease models. Perfluorocarbon nanoemulsions (PFC-NEs) have been well documented in their ability to be taken up by macrophages through phagocytosis and serve as 19F magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) tracers of inflammation in vivo and ex vivo. Incorporation of near-infrared fluorescent (NIRF) dyes in PFC-NEs can help monitor the spatiotemporal distribution of macrophages in vivo during inflammatory processes, using NIRF imaging as a complementary methodology to MRI. Here, we discuss in depth how both colloidal and fluorescence stabilities of the PFC-NEs are essential for successful and reliable macrophage tracking in vivo and for their detection in excised tissues ex vivo by NIRF imaging. Furthermore, PFC-NE quality assures NIRF imaging reproducibility and reliability across preclinical studies, providing insights into inflammation progression and therapeutic response. Previous studies focused on assessments of colloidal property changes in response to stress and during storage as a means of quality control. We recently focused on the joint evaluation of both colloidal and fluorescence properties and their relationship to NIRF imaging outcomes. In this protocol, we summarize the key assessments of the fluorescent dye-labeled nanoemulsions, which include long-term particle size distribution monitoring as the measure of colloidal stability and monitoring of the fluorescence signal. Due to its simplicity and reproducibility, our protocols are easy to adopt for researchers to assess the quality of PFC-NEs for in vivo NIRF imaging applications.

Open Access