Cerenkov luminescence (CL) imaging is a new molecular imaging modality that utilizes the photons emitted during radioactive decay when charged particles travel faster than the phase velocity of light in a dielectric medium. Here we present a novel agent to convert and increase CL emission at longer wavelengths using multimodal protein microspheres (MSs). The 64Cu-labeled protein microspheres contain quantum dots (QDs) encapsulated within a high-refractive-index-oil core. Dark box imaging of the MSs was conducted to demonstrate the improvement in CL emission at longer wavelengths. To illustrate the versatile design of these MSs and the potential of CL in disease diagnosis, these MSs were utilized for in vitro cell targeting and ex vivo CL-excited QD fluorescence (CL-FL) imaging of atherosclerotic plaques in rats. It was shown that by utilizing both QDs and MSs with a high-refractive-index-oil core, the CL emission increases by four-fold at longer wavelengths. Furthermore, we demonstrate that these MSs generate both an in vivo and exvivo contrast signal. The design concept of utilizing QDs and high-index core MSs may contribute to future developments of invivo CL imaging.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)727-739
Number of pages13
JournalPhysics in medicine and biology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015


  • Cerenkov luminescence imaging
  • protein microspheres
  • quantum dots

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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