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BoneTag Optical Probes

Frost & Sullivan Award

LI-COR is honored to have received this prestigious award from Frost & Sullivan. More about this reward.

Calcium-chelating compounds have been used effectively for the detection of bone mineralization, growth, and morphological changes, including tetracycline derivatives, xylenol orange, alizarin, calcein, and fluorescein. In addition, near-infrared (NIR) labeled pamidronate has been successfully used for detection of arterial calcification in non-invasive optical imaging.1

IRDye® 800CW BoneTag Optical Probe and IRDye 680RD BoneTag Optical Probe are calcium-chelating compounds conjugated to IRDye 800CW or IRDye 680RD near-infrared dye. Use of IRDye NIR dyes extends fluorescence signal detection to the NIR region of the spectrum without affecting the compound’s ability to function as a marker of the mineralization process. NIR fluorescence detection improves depth of penetration due to low tissue autofluorescence, translating to low background interference.

The ability to visualize bone anatomy and structures for an extended period facilitates use of the IRDye BoneTag in conjunction with a second optical agent specific for a primary target (i.e, tumor tissue). In addition, IRDye 800CW BoneTag may prove effective for studies dealing with bone metastasis and bone remodeling studies.


Bone-targeted binding was examined using MC3T3 (osteoblast) cells in a cell-based assay. MC3T3 cells exhibited a dose dependent increase in signal when incubated with IRDye 800CW BoneTag. Incubation of labeled BoneTag with A431 cells (epidermoid carcinoma), a non-osteoblast cell line, showed low non-specific binding.


1. Zaheer A et al. In vivo near-infrared fluorescence imaging of osteoblastic activity Nat Biotechnol 19 (2001) 1148-54.

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