Noninvasive Photoacoustic Imaging of Dendritic Cell Stimulated with Tumor Cell-Derived Exosome

Yin Ji Piao, Hoe Suk Kim, Woo Kyung Moon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Scopus citations


Purpose: The tools to trigger dendritic cell (DC) activation and to verify DC migration in vivo are important for directing DC immunotherapy toward successful treatment. We evaluated whether tumor cell-derived exosome (TEX)-stimulated DC migration into lymph node (LN) in mouse could be tracked using gold nanoparticle (GN)-labeling and ultrasound (US)-guided photoacoustic imaging (PAI). Procedures: GFP-transduced DC2.4 cells were used. RFP-tagged TEXs were purified from a stable 4T1 cell line overexpressing the exosomal CD63-RFP fusion protein. The TEX uptake by DCs was visualized using confocal laser scanning microscopy. GNs with surface plasmon resonance at 808 nm were used for DC-labeling. DCs that migrated into axillary LN were longitudinally monitored by US-guided PAI and analyzed by silver staining and immunohistochemistry. Results: TEXs were easily internalized in DCs, increased proliferation and migration capacities, and upregulated co-stimulatory molecules, CCR7 and TNF-α without cytotoxicity. The GN-labeling exerted no adverse effects on the biological functions of DCs. US-guided PAI and DC-labeling allowed for sensitive and longitudinal monitoring of TEX-stimulated DC migration toaxillary LN. Conclusions: TEXs efficiently activated DCs and GN-labeled DC migration into LN was successfully monitored using US-guided PAI, suggesting that TEXs are a good source for DC activation and US-guided PAI is a cost-effective and easy-to-use imaging modality for noninvasive tracking of DCs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)612-622
Number of pages11
JournalMolecular Imaging and Biology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2020


  • Dendritic cell
  • Exosomes
  • Gold nanoparticle
  • Photoacoustic imaging

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