Highly Excretable Gold Supraclusters for Translatable In Vivo Raman Imaging of Tumors.
Raman spectroscopy provides excellent specificity for in vivo preclinical imaging through a readout of fingerprint-like spectra. To achieve sufficient sensitivity for in vivo Raman imaging, metallic gold nanoparticles larger than 10 nm were employed to amplify Raman signals via surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS). However, the inability to excrete such large gold nanoparticles has restricted the translation of Raman imaging. Here we present Raman-active metallic gold supraclusters that are biodegradable and excretable as nanoclusters. Although the small size of the gold nanocluster building blocks compromises the electromagnetic field enhancement effect, the supraclusters exhibit bright and prominent Raman scattering comparable to that of large gold nanoparticle-based SERS nanotags due to high loading of NIR-resonant Raman dyes and much suppressed fluorescence background by metallic supraclusters. The bright Raman scattering of the supraclusters was pH-responsive, and we successfully performed in vivo Raman imaging of acidic tumors in mice. Furthermore, in contrast to large gold nanoparticles that remain in the liver and spleen over 4 months, the supraclusters dissociated into small nanoclusters, and 73% of the administered dose to mice was excreted during the same period. The highly excretable Raman supraclusters demonstrated here offer great potential for clinical applications of in vivo Raman imaging.
View details for DOI 10.1021/acsnano.2c10378
View details for PubMedID 36688431