We explore the feasibility of using gold nanorods with efficient two-photon luminescence properties as contrast agents for intravital imaging of neoplasia. This investigation spanned ex vivo characterization in cells/tissue to in vivo implementation in an oral carcinogenesis model. GNRs were >40 times brighter than surrounding tissue. Intravital imaging revealed 3D microvasculature, and in dysplasia, abnormal vessels (dense and tortuous) compared to normal. GNRs were diffusely distributed in lesions after 24 hours. No known previous study has revealed abnormal vessel structure in dysplasia by imaging. Results suggest GNRs can function as high-contrast agents for in vivo visualization of carcinogenesis features
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