DNA nanotechnology plays an increasingly important role in the biomedical field; however, its application in the design of organic nanomaterials has still been underexplored. Herein, we innovatively exploit the DNA nanotechnology to aid a NIR-II emitting nanofluorophore to break through the limit of the brain-blood barrier (BBB) in non-invasive imaging of the brain tumor. Specifically, the DNA block copolymer, PS- b -DNA, is synthesized through a solid-phase “click” reaction. We demonstrate that its self-assembled structure shows exceptional cluster-effects, among which BBB-crossing is the most notable one. Therefore, for the first time, PS- b -DNA is utilized as an amphiphilic matrix to fabricate the NIR-II nanofluorephore and applied in in vivo bio-imaging. Accordingly, the DNA-based nanofluorophore shows a 3.8-fold enhancement in the NIR-II fluorescence signal of the glioblastoma imaging in comparison with the PEG-based counterpart. Undoubtedly, the notably increased imaging resolution will significantly benefit the further diagnosis and therapy of brain tumors.© 2020 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim.
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