Nanotheranostics 2022; 6(2):143-160. doi:10.7150/ntno.63458 This issue


Metal-Organic Frameworks for Bioimaging: Strategies and Challenges

Yanfei Liu2*, Ting Jiang2*, Zhenbao Liu1,3✉

1. Department of Pharmaceutics, Xiangya School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Central South University, Changsha, 410013, Hunan Province, P. R. China.
2. Department of Pharmaceutical Engineering, College of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Central South University, Changsha, 410083, Hunan Province, P. R. China.
3. Molecular Imaging Research Center of Central South University, Changsha 410008, Hunan, P. R. China.
*These authors contributed equally to this work.

This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( See for full terms and conditions.
Liu Y, Jiang T, Liu Z. Metal-Organic Frameworks for Bioimaging: Strategies and Challenges. Nanotheranostics 2022; 6(2):143-160. doi:10.7150/ntno.63458. Available from

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Graphic abstract

Metal-organic frameworks (MOFs), composited with metal ions and organic linkers, have become promising candidates in the biomedical field own to their unique properties, such as high surface area, pore-volume, tunable pore size, and versatile functionalities. In this review, we introduce and summarize the synthesis and characterization methods of MOFs, and their bioimaging applications, including optical bioimaging, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), computed tomography (CT), and multi-mode. Furthermore, their bioimaging strategies, remaining challenges and future directions are discussed and proposed. This review provides valuable references for the designing of molecular bioimaging probes based on MOFs.

Keywords: Metal-organic frameworks, Optical bioimaging, Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), Computed tomography