Ph-dependent and cathepsin b activable CaCO3nanoprobe for targeted in vivo tumor imaging

Ning Sun, Dou Wang, Guoqiang Yao, Xiaomei Li, Ting Mei, Xinke Zhou, Kwok Yin Wong, Baishan Jiang, Zhiyuan Fang

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Background: The intraoperative visualization of tumor cells is a powerful modality for surgical treatment of solid tumors. Since the completeness of tumor excision is closely correlated with the survival of patients, probes that can assist in distinguishing tumor cells are highly demanded. Purpose: In the present study, a fluorescent probe JF1 was synthesized for imaging of tumor cells by conjugating a substrate of cathepsin B (quenching moiety) to Oregon Green derivative JF2 using a self-immolative linker. Methods: JF1 was then loaded into the folate-PEG modified CaCO3 nanoparticles. The folate receptor-targeted, pH-dependent, and cathepsin B activable CaCO3 nanoprobe was test in vitro and in vivo for tumor imaging. Results: CaCO3 nanoprobe demonstrated good stability and fast lighting ability in tumors under low pH conditions. It also showed lower fluorescence background than the single cathepsin B dependent fluorescent probe. The pH-dependent and cathepsin B controlled “turn-on” property enables precise and fast indication of tumor in vitro and in vivo. Conclusion: This strategy of controlled drug delivery enables in vivo imaging of tumor nodules with a high signal-to-noise ratio, which has great potential in surgical tumor treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4309-4317
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Nanomedicine
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2019


  • Activable probe
  • CaCO nanoparticle
  • Cathepsin B
  • Fluorescent probe
  • Tumor imaging

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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