In vitro imaging of b-cells using fluorescent cubic bicontinuous liquid crystalline nanoparticles

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


To evaluate the potential of monoolein-based cubic bicontinuous liquid crystalline nanoparticles (cubosomes) as diagnostic tools in diabetes and pancreatic β-cell transplantation, fluorescent cubosomes were formulated, entrapping within the lipid bilayer a newly synthesized, potent, hydrophobic dye. Cryo-TEM, SAXS, and DLS were performed to assess the morphological and structural aspects of this formulation. Rat pancreatic β-cells (INS-1E) readily took up the cubosome nanoparticles, as revealed by in vitro internalization tests, and flow-cytometric analyses confirmed the persistence of the fluorescence for up to 24 hours. The cytotoxicity of cubosomes at various concentrations, evaluated with a real-time analysis of proliferation, revealed that the proliferation curves relative to the less concentrated formulation (5 μM in terms of monoolein content) were comparable to the untreated cultures. INS-1E cell cycle and apoptosis supported such results. In conclusion, this formulation, with dye content in the nanomolar range, seems to be useful for β-cell imaging.


  • Vitale Miceli
  • Valeria Meli
  • Mireille Blanchard-Desce
  • Talia Bsaibess
  • Mariangela Pampalone
  • Pier Giulio Conaldi
  • Claudia Caltagirone
  • Marc Obiols-Rabasa
  • Judith Schmidt
  • Yeshayahu Talmon
  • Anna Casu
  • Sergio Murgia
External organisations
  • Mediterranean Institute for Transplantation and Advanced Specialized Therapies
  • University of Cagliari
  • University of Bordeaux
  • Technion - Israel Institute of Technology
  • University of Calgary
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Physical Chemistry
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)62119-62127
Number of pages9
JournalRSC Advances
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Jun 23
Publication categoryResearch