Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2009 Aug 28;106(32):13511-6. Epub 2009 Jul 28.
Molecular Imaging Program, Department of Radiology and Bio-X Program, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA 94305, USA.
Raman spectroscopy is a newly developed, noninvasive preclinical imaging technique that offers picomolar sensitivity and multiplexing capabilities to the field of molecular imaging. In this study, we demonstrate the ability of Raman spectroscopy to separate the spectral fingerprints of up to 10 different types of surface enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) nanoparticles in a living mouse after s.c. injection. Based on these spectral results, we simultaneously injected the five most intense and spectrally unique SERS nanoparticles i.v. to image their natural accumulation in the liver. All five types of SERS nanoparticles were successfully identified and spectrally separated using our optimized noninvasive Raman imaging system. In addition, we were able to linearly correlate Raman signal with SERS concentration after injecting four spectrally unique SERS nanoparticles either s.c. (R(2) = 0.998) or i.v. (R(2) = 0.992). These results show great potential for multiplexed imaging in living subjects in cases in which several targeted SERS probes could offer better detection of multiple biomarkers associated with a specific disease.