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Title: pH-dependent and cathepsin B activable CaCO3 nanoprobe for targeted in vivo tumor imaging
Authors: Sun, N 
Wang, D
Yao, GQ
Li, XM
Mei, T
Zhou, XK
Wong, KY 
Jiang, BS
Fang, ZY
Keywords: Cathepsin B
Activable probe
Fluorescent probe
CaCO3 nanoparticle
Tumor imaging
Issue Date: 2019
Publisher: Dove Medical Press
Source: International journal of nanomedicine, 2019, v. 14, p. 4309-4317 How to cite?
Journal: International journal of nanomedicine 
Abstract: Background: The intraoperative visualization of tumor cells is a powerful modality for surgical treatment of solid tumors. Since the completeness of tumor excision is closely correlated with the survival of patients, probes that can assist in distinguishing tumor cells are highly demanded.
Purpose: In the present study, a fluorescent probe JF1 was synthesized for imaging of tumor cells by conjugating a substrate of cathepsin B (quenching moiety) to Oregon Green derivative JF2 using a self-immolative linker.
Methods: JF1 was then loaded into the folate-PEG modified CaCO3 nanoparticles. The folate receptor-targeted, pH-dependent, and cathepsin B activable CaCO3 nanoprobe was test in vitro and in vivo for tumor imaging.
Results: CaCO3 nanoprobe demonstrated good stability and fast lighting ability in tumors under low pH conditions. It also showed lower fluorescence background than the single cathepsin B dependent fluorescent probe. The pH-dependent and cathepsin B controlled "turn-on" property enables precise and fast indication of tumor in vitro and in vivo.
Conclusion: This strategy of controlled drug delivery enables in vivo imaging of tumor nodules with a high signal-to-noise ratio, which has great potential in surgical tumor treatment.
ISSN: 1176-9114
EISSN: 1178-2013
DOI: 10.2147/IJN.S201722
Rights: © 2019 Sun et al. This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited. The full terms of this license are available at and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution – Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License ( By accessing the work you hereby accept the Terms. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed. For permission for commercial use of this work, please see paragraphs 4.2 and 5 of our Terms (
The following publication Sun, N, Wang, D., Yao, G. Q., Li, X. M., Mei, T., Zhou, X. K., … & Fang, Z. Y. (2019). pH-dependent and cathepsin B activable CaCO3 nanoprobe for targeted in vivo tumor imaging. International journal of nanomedicine, 14, 4309-4317 is available at
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