Theranostics 2016; 6(2):167-176. doi:10.7150/thno.13653

Research Paper

Indocyanine Green Liposomes for Diagnosis and Therapeutic Monitoring of Cerebral Malaria

Emma Portnoy1,3, Natalia Vakruk1,2, Ameer Bishara1, Miriam Shmuel1, Shlomo Magdassi3, Jacob Golenser2,*,✉, Sara Eyal1*

1. The Institute for Drug Research, School of Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, The Hebrew university of Jerusalem 91120, Israel.
2. The Kuvin Center for the Study of Infectious and Tropical Diseases, Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, Faculty of Medicine, The Hebrew University, Jerusalem, Israel.
3. Casali Center for Applied Chemistry, Institute of Chemistry and Center for Nanoscience and Nanotechnology, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel.
*Equal contribution


Cerebral malaria (CM) is a major cause of death of Plasmodium falciparum infection. Misdiagnosis of CM often leads to treatment delay and mortality. Conventional brain imaging technologies are rarely applicable in endemic areas. Here we address the unmet need for a simple, non-invasive imaging methodology for early diagnosis of CM. This study presents the diagnostic and therapeutic monitoring using liposomes containing the FDA-approved fluorescent dye indocyanine green (ICG) in a CM murine model. Increased emission intensity of liposomal ICG was demonstrated in comparison with free ICG. The Liposomal ICG's emission was greater in the brains of the infected mice compared to naïve mice and drug treated mice (where CM was prevented). Histological analyses suggest that the accumulation of liposomal ICG in the cerebral vasculature is due to extensive uptake mediated by activated phagocytes. Overall, liposomal ICG offers a valuable diagnostic tool and a biomarker for effectiveness of CM treatment, as well as other diseases that involve inflammation and blood vessel occlusion.

Keywords: cerebral malaria, imaging, indocyanine green, liposomes, diagnosis

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How to cite this article:
Portnoy E, Vakruk N, Bishara A, Shmuel M, Magdassi S, Golenser J, Eyal S. Indocyanine Green Liposomes for Diagnosis and Therapeutic Monitoring of Cerebral Malaria. Theranostics 2016; 6(2):167-176. doi:10.7150/thno.13653. Available from