Application of Gold Nanorods for Plasmonic and Magnetic Imaging of Cancer Cells

Liwei Liu, Hong Ding, Ken Tye Yong, Indrajit Roy, Wing Cheung Law, Atcha Kopwitthaya, Rajiv Kumar, Folarin Erogbogbo, Xihe Zhang, Paras N. Prasad

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


We report the use of biocompatible gold nanorods (GNRs) as multimodal (plasmonic and magnetic) probes for cancer cell labeling in vitro. These multifunctional and multimodal bioconjugates were prepared by replacing cetyltrimethylammonium bromide with a mixture of functionalized PEGylation molecules so that a variety of functionalities (e.g., magnetic resonance imaging agent gadolinium (Gd) and biorecognition molecule transferrin (Tf)) can be easily integrated using simple chemistry. It was shown that Gd incorporation did not interfere with the plasmonic properties of the GNRs and a strong T1 relaxivity was estimated (10.0 mM-1s-1), which is more than twice that of the clinical MRI agent Gd-DTPA. The large observed T1 relaxivity was possibly due to the huge surface to volume ratio of GNR, which allowed huge amount of amine-terminated molecule to anchor on the surface, coupled with Gd (III) ions for the enhanced relaxation of water protons. Pancreatic cancer cell overexpressing the transferring receptor was served as the in vitro model, and the Tf-mediated uptake was demonstrated and confirmed by dark-field imaging and transmission electron microscopy. More importantly, cell viability (MTS) assay did not reveal any sign of toxicity in these treated cells, suggesting that PEGylated GNRs can serve as a biocompatible, multifunctional, and multimodal platform for variable bio-applications.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)105-112
Number of pages8
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Cancer
  • Dark-field imaging
  • DOTA
  • Gd
  • Gold nanorods
  • MRI

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry


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