Two-Photon Image Tracking of Neural Stem Cells via Iridium Complexes Encapsulated in Polymeric Nanospheres

Dan Li, Xiaoqian Yan, Yangnan Hu, Yun Liu, Rongrong Guo, Menghui Liao, Buwei Shao, Qilin Tang, Xing Guo, Renjie Chai*, Qi Zhang, Mingliang Tang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Iridium(III) complexes have been shown to be promising probes in two-photon imaging to real-time track the transplanted cells in stem-cell-based therapy. Here, we report on polymeric nanocapsules loaded with red phosphorescence dye of bis(2-methyldibenzo[f,h]quinoxaline) (acetylacetonate) iridium(III) (Ir(MDQ) 2 acac) with excellent stability created by the double emulsion method. The Ir(MDQ) 2 acac nanocapsules present high biocompatibility and an efficient fluorescent labeling rate when incubated with cultured mouse neural stem cells (NSCs). More importantly, the Ir(MDQ) 2 acac nanocapsules had both one- and two-photon imaging properties with stable phosphorescence lasting for 72 h. Furthermore, data from in vivo tracking in nude mice demonstrated that the photoluminescence from Ir(MDQ) 2 acac nanocapsules in NSCs could be stably monitored for up to 21 days. Our data shed light on the potential clinical application of iridium complexes encapsulated in polymeric nanospheres for two-photon imaging in real-time tracking of the transplanted stem cells.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1561-1568
Number of pages8
JournalACS Biomaterials Science and Engineering
Issue number3
StatePublished - 11 Mar 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • iridium
  • nanosphere
  • one-photon imaging
  • stem cell tracking
  • two-photon imaging


Dive into the research topics of 'Two-Photon Image Tracking of Neural Stem Cells via Iridium Complexes Encapsulated in Polymeric Nanospheres'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this