Surface charge of supramolecular nanosystems for in vivo biodistribution: a microSPECT/CT imaging study

Bioimaging has revolutionized medicine by providing accurate information for disease diagnosis and treatment. Nanotechnology-based bioimaging is expected to further improve imaging sensitivity and specificity. In this context, we have developed supramolecular nanosystems based on self-assembly of amphiphilic dendrimers for single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) bioimaging. These dendrimers bear multiple In3+ radionuclides at their terminals as SPECT reporters. By replacing the macrocyclic DOTA cage with the smaller NOTA scaffold as the In3+ chelator, the corresponding dendrimer SPECT nanoprobe generated a highly sought-after biodistribution profile accompanied by a drastically reduced uptake in liver, leading to significantly enhanced imaging contrast and improved tumor imaging. This study can provide new perspectives for improving the biodistribution of nanosystems for bioimaging and imaging-guided therapy.

This is a collaborative work between Centre Interdisciplinaire de Nanoscience de Marseille (CINaM) and Centre Européen de Recherche en Imagerie Médicale (CERIMED) at Aix-Marseille University together with Institute de Chimie Radicale (ICR), Centre de Recherche en Cancérologie de Marseille (CRCM), Trieste University in Italy and Beijing Institute of Technology in China.

Figure 1: Schematic illustration of the supramolecular dendrimer nanosystems, based on the self-assembling amphiphilic dendrimers In-1 and In-2 bearing radionuclide In3+ terminals complexes with the macrocyclic DOTA and NOTA cages, respectively, for single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) imaging of tumors.

Ling Ding, Zhenbin Lyu, Beatrice Louis, Aura Tintaru, Erik Laurini, Domenico Marson, Mengjie Zhang, Wanxuan Shao, Yifan Jiang, Ahlem Bouhlel, Laure Balasse, Philippe Garrigue, Eric Mas, Suzanne Giorgio, Juan Iovanna, Yuanyu Huang, Sabrina Pricl, Benjamin Guillet, Ling Peng

Small, DOI: 10.1002/smll.202003290


Dr. Ling Peng, Email:

Aix-Marseille Université, CNRS, Centre Interdisciplinaire de Nanoscience de Marseille (CINaM) UMR 7325, Equipe Labellisé par La Ligue, Marseille, France