Synthesis of europium-doped VSOP, customized enhancer solution and improved microscopy fluorescence methodology for unambiguous histological detection


  • A.A. de Schellenberger
  • R. Hauptmann
  • J.M. Millward
  • E. Schellenberger
  • Y. Kobayashi
  • M. Taupitz
  • C. Infante-Duarte
  • J. Schnorr
  • S. Wagner


  • Journal of Nanobiotechnology


  • J Nanobiotechnology 15 (1): 71


  • BACKGROUND: Intrinsic iron in biological tissues frequently precludes unambiguous the identification of iron oxide nanoparticles when iron-based detection methods are used. Here we report the full methodology for synthesizing very small iron oxide nanoparticles (VSOP) doped with europium (Eu) in their iron oxide core (Eu-VSOP) and their unambiguous qualitative and quantitative detection by fluorescence. METHODS AND RESULTS: The resulting Eu-VSOP contained 0.7 to 2.7% Eu relative to iron, which was sufficient for fluorescent detection while not altering other important particle parameters such as size, surface charge, or relaxivity. A customized enhancer solution with high buffer capacity and nearly neutral pH was developed to provide an antenna system that allowed fluorescent detection of Eu-VSOP in cells and histologic tissue slices as well as in solutions even under acidic conditions as frequently obtained from dissolved organic material. This enhancer solution allowed detection of Eu-VSOP using a standard fluorescence spectrophotometer and a fluorescence microscope equipped with a custom filter set with an excitation wavelength ({lambda}ex) of 338 nm and an emission wavelength ({lambda}em) of 616 nm. CONCLUSION: The fluorescent detection of Eu-doped very small iron oxide nanoparticles (Eu-VSOP) provides a straightforward tool to unambiguously characterize VSOP biodistribution and toxicology at tissue, and cellular levels, providing a sensitive analytical tool to detect Eu-doped IONP in dissolved organ tissue and biological fluids with fluorescence instruments.