Core-shell microgels containing sensors/dyes in a matrix were fabricated by two-stage free radical precipitation polymerization method for ratiometric sensing/imaging. The microgels composing of poly(N-isopropylacrylamide) (PNIPAm) shell exhibits a low critical solution temperature (LCST), underwent an entropically driven transition from a swollen state to a deswollen state, which exhibit a hydrodynamic radius of ∼450 nm at 25uC (in vitro) and ∼190 nm at 37°C (in vivo). The microgel's ability of escaping from lysosome into cytosol makes the microgel be a potential candidate for cytosolic delivery of sensors/probes. Non-invasive imaging/sensing in Antigen-presenting cells (APCs) was feasible by monitoring the changes of fluorescence intensity ratios. Thus, these biocompatible microgels-based imaging/sensing agents may be expected to expand current molecular imaging/sensing techniques into methods applicable to studies in vivo, which could further drive APC-based treatments.
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