Plastic and reconstructive surgeons increasingly apply adipose tissue grafting in a clinical setting, although the anticipation of graft survival is insecure. There are only few tools for tracking transplanted fat grafts in vivo.
Murine adipose tissue clusters were incubated with negatively charged, mercaptoproprionic acid–coated cadmium telluride quantum dots (QDs) emitting in the dark red or near infrared. The intracellular localization of QDs was studied by confocal laser scanning microscopy.
As a result, the adipose tissue clusters showed a proportional increase in fluorescence with increasing concentrations (1, 10, 16, 30, 50 nM) of cadmium telluride QDs. Laser scanning microscopy demonstrated a membrane bound localization of QDs. Vacuoles and cell nuclei of adipocytes were spared by QDs. We conclude that QDs were for the first time proven intracellular in adult adipocytes and demonstrate a strong fluorescence signal. Therefore, they may play an essential role for in vivo tracking of fat grafts.