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Probing cellular uptake and tracking of differently shaped gelatin-coated gold nanoparticles inside of ovarian cancer cells by two-photon excited photoluminescence analyzed by fluorescence lifetime imaging (FLIM)

Suarasan, Sorina, Licarete, Emilia, Astilean, Simion, Craciun, Ana-Maria
Colloids and surfaces 2018 v.166 pp. 135-143
animal ovaries, colloids, fluorescence, fluorescence microscopy, image analysis, irradiation, nanogold, neoplasm cells, ovarian neoplasms, photoluminescence, spectroscopy, wavelengths
Nowadays, the non-linear optical effect of two-photon excited (TPE) fluorescence has recently grown in interest in recent years over other optical imaging method, due to improved 3D spatial resolution, deep penetrability and less photodamage of living organism owing to the excitation in near-infrared region (NIR). In parallel, gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) have gain considerable attention for NIR TPE bio-imaging applications due to their appealing ability to generate strong intrinsic photoluminescence (PL). Here, we demonstrate the capability of differently shaped gelatin-coated AuNPs to perform as reliable label-free contrast agents for the non-invasive NIR imaging of NIH:OVCAR-3 ovary cancer cells via TPE Fluorescence Lifetime Imaging Microscopy (FLIM). Examination of the spectroscopic profile of the intrinsic signals exhibited by AuNPs inside cells confirm the plasmonic nature of the emitted PL, while the evaluation of time-dependent profile of the TPE PL signal under continuous irradiation indicates the photo-stability of the signal revealing simultaneously a photo-blinking behavior. Finally, we assess the dependence of the TPE PL signal on laser excitation power and wavelength in view of contributing to a better understanding of plasmonic TPE PL in biological media towards the improvement of TPE FLIM imaging applications based on AuNPs.