The surface of spherical, nonporous silica nanoparticles (SiO2-NPs) was modified with gadolinium (Gd) complexes, fluorophores, and cell-penetrating peptides to achieve multifunctionality on a single particle. The Gd surface concentrations were 9–16 μmol/g resulting in nanomaterials with high local longitudinal and transversal relaxivities (~1×105 and ~5×105 /mm/s/NP, respectively). Rapid cellular uptake was observed in vitro; however, larger extracellular agglomerates were also formed. In vivo administration revealed a fast distribution throughout the body followed by a nearly complete disappearance of fluorescence in all organs except the lungs, liver, and spleen after 24 h. Such NPs have the potential to serve as efficient multimodal probes in molecular imaging.
©2012 by Walter de Gruyter Berlin Boston