Are they in or out? The elusive interaction between Qtracker®800 vascular labels and brain endothelial cells

Beatrice Mihaela Radu, Mihai Radu, Cristina Tognoli, Donatella Benati, Flavia Merigo, Michael Assfalg, Erika Solani, Chiara Stranieri, Alberto Ceccon, Anna Maria Fratta Pasini, Luciano Cominacini, Placido Bramanti, Francesco Osculati, Giuseppe Bertini, Paolo Francesco Fabene

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Aim: Qtracker®800 Vascular labels (Qtracker®800) are promising biomedical tools for high-resolution vasculature imaging; their effects on mouse and human endothelia, however, are still unknown. Materials & methods: Qtracker®800 were injected in Balb/c mice, and brain endothelium uptake was investigated by transmission electron microscopy 3-h post injection. We then investigated, in vitro, the effects of Qtracker®800 exposure on mouse and human endothelial cells by calcium imaging. Results: Transmission electron microscopy images showed nanoparticle accumulation in mouse brain endothelia. A subset of mouse and human endothelial cells generated intracellular calcium transients in response to Qtracker®800. Conclusion: Qtracker®800 nanoparticles elicit endothelial functional responses, which prompts biomedical safety evaluations and may bias the interpretation of experimental studies involving vascular imaging.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3329-3342
Number of pages14
Issue number22
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1 2015


  • calcium imaging
  • cytosolic calcium transients
  • human umbilical vein endothelial cells
  • mouse brain endothelium
  • nanoparticle uptake
  • nanoparticles
  • transmission electron microscopy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Bioengineering
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Development


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