Enabling in vivo measurements of nanoparticle concentrations with three-dimensional optoacoustic tomography
In this report, we demonstrate the feasibility of using optoacoustic tomography (OAT) to evaluate biodistributions of nanoparticles in animal models. The redistribution of single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs) was visualized in living mice. Nanoparticle concentrations in harvested organs were measured spectroscopically using the intrinsic optical absorption and fluorescence of SWCNTs. Observed increases in optoacoustic signal brightness in tissues were compared with increases in optical absorption coefficients caused by SWCNT accumulation. The methodology presented in this report can further be extended to calibrate the sensitivity of an optoacoustic imaging system for a range of changes in optical absorption coefficient values at specific locations or organs in a mouse body to enable noninvasive measurements of nanoparticle concentrations in vivo. Additionally, qualitative information provided by OAT and quantitative information obtained ex vivo may provide valuable feedback for advancing methods of quantitative analysis with OAT.