X-ray Fluorescence Uptake Measurement of Functionalized Gold Nanoparticles in Tumor Cell Microsamples

  • Oliver Schmutzler
  • Sebastian Graf
  • Nils Behm
  • Wael Y. Mansour
  • Florian Blumendorf
  • Theresa Staufer
  • Christian Körnig
  • Dina Salah
  • Yanan Kang
  • Jan N. Peters
  • Yang Liu
  • Neus Feliu
  • Wolfgang J. Parak
  • Anja Burkhardt
  • Elisabetta Gargioni
  • Sabrina Gennis
  • Sharah Chandralingam
  • Finn Höeg
  • Wolfgang Maison
  • Kai Rothkamm (Shared last author)
  • Florian Schulz (Shared last author)
  • Florian Grüner (Shared last author)


Quantitative cellular in vitro nanoparticle uptake measurements are possible with a large number of different techniques, however, all have their respective restrictions. Here, we demonstrate the application of synchrotron-based X-ray fluorescence imaging (XFI) on prostate tumor cells, which have internalized differently functionalized gold nanoparticles. Total nanoparticle uptake on the order of a few hundred picograms could be conveniently observed with microsamples consisting of only a few hundreds of cells. A comparison with mass spectroscopy quantification is provided, experimental results are both supported and sensitivity limits of this XFI approach extrapolated by Monte-Carlo simulations, yielding a minimum detectable nanoparticle mass of just 5 pg. This study demonstrates the high sensitivity level of XFI, allowing non-destructive uptake measurements with very small microsamples within just seconds of irradiation time.

Bibliographical data

Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 01.04.2021