The use of oxygen-sensing water-insoluble paramagnetic probes, such as lithium octa-n-butoxynaphthalo-cyanine (LiNc-BuO), enables repeated measurements of pO2 from the same location in tissue by electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) spectroscopy. In order to facilitate direct in vivo application, and hence eventual clinical applicability, of LiNc-BuO, we encapsulated LiNc-BuO microcrystals in polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS), an oxygen-permeable and bioinert polymer, and developed an implantable chip. In vitro evaluation of the chip, performed under conditions of sterilization, high-energy irradiation, and exposure to cultured cells, revealed that it is biostable and biocompatible. Implantation of the chip in the gastrocnemius muscle tissue of mice showed that it is capable of repeated and real-time measurements of tissue oxygenation for an extended period. Functional evaluation using a murine tumor model established the suitability and applicability of the chip for monitoring tumor oxygenation. This study establishes PDMS-encapsulated LiNc-BuO as a promising choice of probe for clinical EPR oximetry.
Keywords: EPR oximetry, Oxygen sensor, Particulate probe, Encapsulation, Polymer coating, Biocompatible EPR probe