Labeling and tracking exosomes within the brain using gold nanoparticles

Oshra Betzer, Nisim Perets, Eran Barnoy, Daniel Offen, Rachela Popovtzer

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


Cell-to-cell communication system involves Exosomes, small, membrane-enveloped nanovesicles. Exosomes are evolving as effective therapeutic tools for different pathologies. These extracellular vesicles can bypass biological barriers such as the blood-brain barrier, and can function as powerful nanocarriers for drugs, proteins and gene therapeutics. However, to promote exosomes' therapy development, especially for brain pathologies, a better understanding of their mechanism of action, trafficking, pharmacokinetics and bio-distribution is needed. In this research, we established a new method for non-invasive in-vivo neuroimaging of mesenchymal stem cell (MSC)-derived exosomes, based on computed tomography (CT) imaging with glucose-coated gold nanoparticle (GNP) labeling. We demonstrated that the exosomes were efficiently and directly labeled with GNPs, via an energy-dependent mechanism. Additionally, we found the optimal parameters for exosome labeling and neuroimaging, wherein 5 nm GNPs enhanced labeling, and intranasal administration produced superior brain accumulation. We applied our technique in a mouse model of focal ischemia. Imaging and tracking of intranasally-administered GNP-labeled exosomes revealed specific accumulation and prolonged presence at the lesion area, up to 24 hrs. We propose that this novel exosome labeling and in-vivo neuroimaging technique can serve as a general platform for brain theranostics.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationNanoscale Imaging, Sensing, and Actuation for Biomedical Applications XV
EditorsDan V. Nicolau, Alexander N. Cartwright, Dror Fixler
ISBN (Electronic)9781510614970
StatePublished - 2018
EventNanoscale Imaging, Sensing, and Actuation for Biomedical Applications XV 2018 - San Francisco, United States
Duration: 30 Jan 201831 Jan 2018

Publication series

NameProgress in Biomedical Optics and Imaging - Proceedings of SPIE
ISSN (Print)1605-7422


ConferenceNanoscale Imaging, Sensing, and Actuation for Biomedical Applications XV 2018
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Francisco


  • CT
  • Exosomes
  • gold nanoparticles
  • neuroimaging


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