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1.  Fluorescence Modified Chitosan-Coated Magnetic Nanoparticles for High-Efficient Cellular Imaging 
Nanoscale Research Letters  2009;4(4):287-295.
Labeling of cells with nanoparticles for living detection is of interest to various biomedical applications. In this study, novel fluorescent/magnetic nanoparticles were prepared and used in high-efficient cellular imaging. The nanoparticles coated with the modified chitosan possessed a magnetic oxide core and a covalently attached fluorescent dye. We evaluated the feasibility and efficiency in labeling cancer cells (SMMC-7721) with the nanoparticles. The nanoparticles exhibited a high affinity to cells, which was demonstrated by flow cytometry and magnetic resonance imaging. The results showed that cell-labeling efficiency of the nanoparticles was dependent on the incubation time and nanoparticles’ concentration. The minimum detected number of labeled cells was around 104 by using a clinical 1.5-T MRI imager. Fluorescence and transmission electron microscopy instruments were used to monitor the localization patterns of the magnetic nanoparticles in cells. These new magneto-fluorescent nanoagents have demonstrated the potential for future medical use.
PMCID: PMC2893437  PMID: 20596545
Magnetic nanoparticle; Fluorescence; Chitosan; Magnetic resonance imaging
2.  Quantum dots incorporated magnetic nanoparticles for imaging colon carcinoma cells 
Engineered multifunctional nanoparticles (NPs) have made a tremendous impact on the biomedical sciences, with advances in imaging, sensing and bioseparation. In particular, the combination of optical and magnetic responses through a single particle system allows us to serve as novel multimodal molecular imaging contrast agents in clinical settings. Despite of essential medical imaging modalities and of significant clinical application, only few nanocomposites have been developed with dual imaging contrast. A new method for preparing quantum dots (QDs) incorporated magnetic nanoparticles (MNPs) based on layer-by-layer (LbL) self-assembly techniques have developed and used for cancer cells imaging.
Here, citrate - capped negatively charged Fe3O4 NPs were prepared and coated with positively - charged hexadecyltrimethyl ammonium bromide (CTAB). Then, thiol - capped negatively charged CdTe QDs were electrostatically bound with CTAB. Morphological, optical and magnetic properties of the fluorescent magnetic nanoparticles (FMNPs) were characterized. Prepared FMNPs were additionally conjugated with hCC49 antibodies fragment antigen binding (Fab) having binding affinity to sialylated sugar chain of TAG-72 region of LS174T cancer cells, which was prepared silkworm expression system, and then were used for imaging colon carcinoma cells.
The prepared nanocomposites were magnetically responsive and fluorescent, simultaneously that are useful for efficient cellular imaging, optical sensing and magnetic separation. Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and dynamic light scattering (DLS) revealed that the particle size is around 50 nm in diameter with inner magnetic core and outer CdTe QDs core-shell structure. Cytotoxicity test of prepared FMNPs indicates high viability in Vero cells. NPs conjugated with anti cancer antibodies were successfully labeled on colon carcinoma cells (LS174) in vitro and showed significant specificity to target cells.
The present report demonstrates a simple synthesis of CdTe QDs-Fe3O4 NPs. The surface of the prepared FMNPs was enabled simple conjugation to monoclonal antibodies by electrostatic interaction. This property further extended their in vitro applications as cellular imaging contrast agents. Such labeling of cells with new fluorescent-magneto nanoprobes for living detection is of interest to various biomedical applications and has demonstrated the potential for future medical use.
PMCID: PMC3751691  PMID: 23957878
Core-shell structure; Magnetic nanoparticles; Quantum dots; Fluorescent nanoparticles; Cell imaging
3.  Actively-targeted LTVSPWY peptide-modified magnetic nanoparticles for tumor imaging 
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is widely used in modern clinical medicine as a diagnostic tool, and provides noninvasive and three-dimensional visualization of biological phenomena in living organisms with high spatial and temporal resolution. Therefore, considerable attention has been paid to magnetic nanoparticles as MRI contrast agents with efficient targeting ability and cellular internalization ability, which make it possible to offer higher contrast and information-rich images for detection of disease.
LTVSPWY peptide-modified PEGylated chitosan (LTVSPWY-PEG-CS) was synthesized by chemical reaction, and the chemical structure was confirmed by 1H-NMR. LTVSPWY-PEG-CS-modified magnetic nanoparticles were prepared successfully using the solvent diffusion method. Their particle size, size distribution, and zeta potential were measured by dynamic light scattering and electrophoretic mobility, and their surface morphology was investigated by transmission electron microscopy. To investigate their selective targeting ability, the cellular uptake of the LTVSPWY-PEG-CS-modified magnetic nanoparticles was observed in a cocultured system of SKOV-3 cells which overexpress HER2 and A549 cells which are HER2-negative. The in vitro cytotoxicity of these nanoparticles in SKOV-3 and A549 cells was measured using the MTT method. The SKOV-3-bearing nude mouse model was used to investigate the tumor targeting ability of the magnetic nanoparticles in vivo.
The average diameter and zeta potential of the LTVSPWY-PEG-CS-modified magnetic nanoparticles was 267.3 ± 23.4 nm and 30.5 ± 7.0 mV, respectively, with a narrow size distribution and spherical morphology. In vitro cytotoxicity tests demonstrated that these magnetic nanoparticles were carriers suitable for use in cancer diagnostics with low toxicity. With modification of the LTVSPWY homing peptide, magnetic nanoparticles could be selectively taken up by SKOV-3 cells overexpressing HER2 when cocultured with HER2-negative A549 cells. In vivo biodistribution results suggest that treatment with LTVSPWY-PEG-CS-modified magnetic nanoparticles/DiR enabled tumors to be identified and diagnosed more rapidly and efficiently in vivo.
LTVSPWY-PEG-CS-modified magnetic nanoparticles are a promising contrast agent for early detection of tumors overexpressing HER2 and further diagnostic application.
PMCID: PMC3410692  PMID: 22866005
LTVSPWY peptide; HER2; poly(ethylene glycol); chitosan; magnetic nanoparticles; tumor targeting
4.  Downregulation of VEGF mRNA expression by triamcinolone acetonide acetate-loaded chitosan derivative nanoparticles in human retinal pigment epithelial cells 
The purpose of this study was to investigate the downregulation of mRNA expression of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) by triamcinolone acetonide acetate (TAA)-loaded chitosan nanoparticles in human retinal pigment epithelial cells.
TAA-loaded deoxycholic acid-modified chitosan (TAA/DA-Chit) nanoparticles were prepared via a self-assembly mechanism, and their morphology and zeta potential were examined by transmission electron microscopy and zeta potential analysis, respectively. DA-Chit and TAA/DA-Chit nanoparticle toxicity was evaluated using a Cell Counting Kit-8 assay. The efficiency of cellular uptake was determined using fluorescein isothiocyanate-labeled DA-Chit nanoparticles, in place of TAA/DA-Chit nanoparticles, assessed by both inverted fluorescence microscopy and flow cytometry. Downregulation of VEGF mRNA expression by TAA/DA-Chit nanoparticles was further investigated by real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) assay of the treated human retinal pigment epithelial cells.
TAA/DA-Chit nanoparticles were prepared with a TAA-loading capacity in the range of 12%–82%, which increased the water solubility of TAA from 0.3 mg/mL to 2.1 mg/mL. These nanoparticles showed oblate shapes 100–550 nm in size in transmission electron microscopic images and had positive zeta potentials. The Cell Counting Kit-8 assay indicated that the DA-Chit and TAA/DA-Chit nanoparticles had no toxicity and low toxicity, respectively, to human retinal pigment epithelial cells. Fluorescein isothiocyanate-labeled DA-Chit nanoparticle uptake by human retinal pigment epithelial cells was confirmed by inverted fluorescence microscopy and flow cytometry. Real-time RT-PCR assay showed that the VEGF mRNA level decreased after incubation of human retinal pigment epithelial cells with TAA/DA-Chit nanoparticles.
TAA/DA-Chit nanoparticles had a downregulating effect on VEGF mRNA expression in human retinal pigment epithelial cells and low cytotoxicity, which might be beneficial characteristics for the development of future treatment for diabetic retinopathy.
PMCID: PMC3428247  PMID: 22942646
chitosan; nanoparticle; triamcinolone acetonide acetate; human retinal pigment epithelial cells; vascular endothelial growth factor; mRNA
5.  Biomedical Applications of Tetrazine Cycloadditions 
Accounts of chemical research  2011;44(9):816-827.
Disease mechanisms are increasingly being resolved at the molecular level. Biomedical success at this scale creates synthetic opportunities for combining specifically designed orthogonal reactions in applications such as imaging, diagnostics, and therapy. For practical reasons, it would be helpful if bioorthogonal coupling reactions proceeded with extremely rapid kinetics (k > 103 M−1 sec−1) and high specificity. Improving kinetics would minimize both the time and amount of labeling agent required to maintain high coupling yields. In this Account, we discuss our recent efforts to design extremely rapid bioorthogonal coupling reactions between tetrazines and strained alkenes.
These selective reactions were first used to covalently couple conjugated tetrazine near-infrared-emitting fluorophores to dienophile-modifed extracellular proteins on living cancer cells. Confocal fluorescence microscopy demonstrated efficient and selective labeling, and control experiments showed minimal background fluorescence. Multistep techniques were optimized to work with nanomolar concentrations of labeling agent over a timescale of minutes: the result was successful real-time imaging of covalent modification. We subsequently discovered fluorogenic probes that increase in fluorescence intensity after the chemical reaction, leading to an improved signal-to-background ratio. Fluorogenic probes were used for intracellular imaging of dienophiles. We further developed strategies to react and image chemotherapeutics, such as trans-cyclooctene taxol analogs, inside living cells. Because the coupling partners are small molecules (<300 daltons), they offer unique steric advantages in multistep amplification.
We also describe recent success in using tetrazine reactions to label biomarkers on cells with magneto-fluorescent nanoparticles. Two-step protocols that use bioorthogonal chemistry can significantly amplify signals over both one-step labeling procedures as well as two-step procedures that use more sterically hindered biotin–avidin interactions. Nanoparticles can be detected with fluorescence or magnetic resonance techniques. These strategies are now being routinely used on clinical samples for biomarker profiling to predict malignancy and patient outcome.
Finally, we discuss recent results with tetrazine reactions used for in vivo molecular imaging applications. Rapid tetrazine cycloadditions allow modular labeling of small molecules with the most commonly used positron emission tomography isotope, 18F. Additionally, in recent work we have begun to apply this reaction directly in vivo for the pre-targeted imaging of solid tumors. Future work with tetrazine cycloadditions will undoubtedly lead to optimized protocols, improved probes, and additional biomedical applications.
PMCID: PMC3166440  PMID: 21627112
6.  Pulsed magneto-motive ultrasound imaging to detect intracellular trafficking of magnetic nanoparticles 
Nanotechnology  2011;22(41):415105.
As applications of nanoparticles in medical imaging and biomedicine rapidly expand, the interactions of nanoparticles with living cells have become an area of active interest. For example, intracellular trafficking of nanoparticles – an important part of cell-nanoparticle interaction, has been well studied using plasmonic nanoparticles and optical or optics-based techniques due to the change in optical properties of the nanoparticle aggregates. However, magnetic nanoparticles, despite their wide range of clinical applications, do not exhibit plasmonic-resonant properties and therefore their intracellular aggregation cannot be detected by optics-based imaging techniques. In this study, we investigated the feasibility of a novel imaging technique – pulsed magneto-motive ultrasound (pMMUS), to identify intracellular trafficking of endocytosed magnetic nanoparticles. In pulsed magneto-motive ultrasound imaging a focused, high intensity, pulsed magnetic field is used to excite the cells labeled with magnetic nanoparticles, and ultrasound imaging is then used to monitor the mechanical response of the tissue. We demonstrated previously that clusters of magnetic nanoparticles amplify the pMMUS signal in comparison to signal from individual nanoparticles. Here we further demonstrate that pMMUS imaging can identify interaction between magnetic nanoparticles and living cells, i.e. intracellular aggregation of nanoparticles within the cells. The results of our study suggest that pMMUS imaging can not only detect the presence of magnetic nanoparticles but also provides information about their intracellular trafficking non-invasively and in real-time.
PMCID: PMC3471148  PMID: 21926454
Pulsed magneto-motive ultrasound imaging; superparamagnetic iron-oxide nanoparticles; macrophage; endocytosis; intracellular trafficking
7.  Preparation and in vitro studies of MRI-specific superparamagnetic iron oxide antiGPC3 probe for hepatocellular carcinoma 
The aim of this study was to develop an antiGPC3-ultrasuperparamagnetic iron oxide (USPIO) probe for early detection of hepatocellular carcinoma.
GPC3 and AFP receptors were selected as biomarkers and conjugated with USPIO nanoparticles coated by dextran with carboxylate groups to synthesize antiGPC3-USPIO and antiAFP-USPIO probes. HepG2 cells (a human hepatocellular carcinoma cell model with high expression of GPC3) were used along with SMMC-7721 cells (a hepatocellular carcinoma cell model with no expression of GPC3), HeLa cells (a cervical cancer model), and HL-7702 (normal hepatocytes) which were used as controls. After incubation with the probes, the iron content in the cells was calculated, USPIO nanoparticles in cells were observed using transmission electron microscopy, and T1 and T2 relaxation times were measured with a 1.5 T magnetic resonance scanner.
AntiGPC3-USPIO probes with a mean hydrodynamic diameter of 47 nm showed good biological compatibility. Transmission electron microscopic images indicated that the amount of USPIO nanoparticles taken up was significantly higher in HepG2 cells incubated with antiGPC3-USPIO than that in HepG2 cells incubated with antiAFP-USPIO or USPIO nanoparticles and that in the SMMC-7721 or HeLa cells incubated with antiGPC3-USPIO probes, antiAFP-USPIO probes, or USPIO nanoparticles. The higher the concentration and the longer the incubation time, the greater the number of USPIO nanoparticles found in the cells. No USPIO nanoparticles were found in the HL-7702 cells. All of the HepG2, SMMC-7721, and HeLa cells incubated with antiGPC3-USPIO, antiAFP-USPIO, or USPIO nanoparticles were able to shorten the T1 and T2 values in agar solution, especially the T2 images of HepG2 cells incubated with antiGPC3-USPIO probes.
AntiGPC3-USPIO probes can be utilized as a specific magnetic resonance targeting contrast agent for early detection of hepatocellular carcinoma. Using a 1.5 T magnetic resonance scanner, the optimal time for imaging HepG2 cells was around 2–4 hours after incubation with antiGPC3-USPIO probes.
PMCID: PMC3431973  PMID: 22956868
magnetic resonance imaging; hepatocellular carcinoma; HepG2 cells; superparamagnetic iron oxide antiGPC3-USPIO probe
8.  Enhanced cellular uptake of aminosilane-coated superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles in mammalian cell lines 
To compare the cellular uptake efficiency and cytotoxicity of aminosilane (SiO2-NH2)-coated superparamagnetic iron oxide (SPIO@SiO2-NH2) nanoparticles with three other types of SPIO nanoparticles coated with SiO2 (SPIO@SiO2), dextran (SPIO@dextran), or bare SPIO in mammalian cell lines.
Materials and methods
Four types of monodispersed SPIO nanoparticles with a SPIO core size of 7 nm and an overall size in a range of 7–15 nm were synthesized. The mammalian cell lines of MCF-7, MDA-MB-231, HT-29, RAW264.7, L929, HepG2, PC-3, U-87 MG, and mouse mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) were incubated with four types of SPIO nanoparticles for 24 hours in the serum-free culture medium Dulbecco’s modified Eagle’s medium (DMEM) with 4.5 μg/mL iron concentration. The cellular uptake efficiencies of SPIO nanoparticles were compared by Prussian blue staining and intracellular iron quantification. In vitro magnetic resonance imaging of MSC pellets after SPIO labeling was performed at 3 T. The effect of each SPIO nanoparticle on the cell viability of RAW 264.7 (mouse monocyte/macrophage) cells was also evaluated.
Transmission electron microscopy demonstrated surface coating with SiO2-NH2, SiO2, and dextran prevented SPIO nanoparticle aggregation in DMEM culture medium. MCF-7, MDA-MB-231, and HT-29 cells failed to show notable iron uptake. For all the remaining six cell lines, Prussian blue staining and intracellular iron quantification demonstrated that SPIO@ SiO2-NH2 nanoparticles had the highest cellular uptake efficiency. SPIO@SiO2-NH2, bare SPIO, and SPIO@dextran nanoparticles did not affect RAW 264.7 cell viability up to 200 μg Fe/mL, while SPIO@SiO2 reduced RAW 264.7 cell viability from 10 to 200 μg Fe/mL in a dose-dependent manner.
Cellular uptake efficiency of SPIO nanoparticles depends on both the cell type and SPIO surface characteristics. Aminosilane surface coating enhanced the cellular uptake efficiency without inducing cytotoxicity in a number of cell lines.
PMCID: PMC3289449  PMID: 22393292
magnetic nanoparticles; SPIO; iron oxide; surface coating; cellular uptake
9.  Multifunctional Magnetic Nanoparticles for Targeted Delivery 
Nanomedicine  2009;6(1):64-69.
A major problem associated with therapy is the inability to deliver pharmaceuticals to a specific site of the body without causing nonspecific toxicity. Development of magnetic nanoparticles and techniques for their safe transport and concentration in specific sites in the body would constitute a powerful tool for gene/drug therapy in vivo. Furthermore, drug delivery in vitro could improve further if the drugs were modified with antibodies, proteins or ligands. For in vivo experiments, magnetic nanoparticles were conjugated with plasmid DNA expressing GFP and then coated with chitosan. These particles were injected into mice through tail vein and directed to heart and kidney by means of external magnets of 25 gauss or 2kA –kA/m. These particles were concentrated in the lungs, heart, and kidney of mice and the expression of GFP in these sites were monitored. The expression of GFP in specific locations was visualized by whole-body fluorescent imaging and the concentration of these particles in the designated body locations was confirmed by transmission electron microscopy. In another model system, we used atrial natriuretic peptide (ANP) and Carcino Embryonic Antigen (CEA) antibodies coupled to the chitosan coated magnetic nanoparticles to target cells in vitro. The present work demonstrates that a simple external magnetic field is all that is necessary to target a drug to a specific site inside the body without the need to functionalize the nanoparticles. However, the option to use magnetic targeting with external magnets on functionalized nanoparticles could prove as a more efficient means of drug delivery.
PMCID: PMC3319306  PMID: 19446653
magnetic nanoparticles; gene therapy; iron oxide; localization; chitosan
10.  Nanoparticle PET-CT imaging of macrophages in inflammatory atherosclerosis 
Circulation  2007;117(3):379-387.
Macrophages (Mø) participate centrally in atherosclerosis and Mø markers (e.g. CD68, MAC-3) correlate well with lesion severity and therapeutic modulation. Based on the avidity of lesional Mø for polysaccharide containing supramolecular structures such as nanoparticles, we have developed a new positron emission tomography (PET) agent with optimized pharmacokinetics to allow in vivo imaging at tracer concentrations.
Methods and Results
A dextranated and DTPA-modified magnetofluorescent 20nm nanoparticle was labeled with the PET tracer 64Cu (1 mCi/0.1mg NP) to yield a PET, MR and optically detectable imaging agent. Peak PET activity 24 hours after i.v. injection into mice deficient in apolipoprotein E (apoE-/-) with experimental atherosclerosis mapped to areas of high plaque load identified by CT, such as the aortic root and arch, and correlated with magnetic resonance and optical imaging. Accumulated dose in apoE-/- aortas determined by gammacounting was 260% and in carotids 392% of respective wild type organs (p<0.05 both). Autoradiography of aortas demonstrated uptake of the agent into Mø-rich atheromata identified by Oil red O staining of lipid deposits. The novel nanoagent accumulated predominantly in Mø as determined by fluorescence microscopy and flow cytometry of cells dissociated from aortas.
This report establishes the capability of a novel tri-modality nanoparticle to directly detect Mø in atherosclerotic plaques. Advantages include improved sensitivity, direct correlation of PET signal with an established biomarker (CD68), ability to readily quantify the PET signal, perform whole body vascular surveys, the ability to spatially localize and follow the tri-reporter by microscopy, and the clinical translatability of the agent given similarities to MRI probes in clinical trials.
PMCID: PMC2663426  PMID: 18158358
atherosclerosis; molecular imaging; inflammation; nanoparticle; PET-CT
11.  pH-sensitive degradable nanoparticles for highly efficient intracellular delivery of exogenous protein 
Encapsulating exogenous proteins into a nanosized particulate system for delivery into cells is a great challenge. To address this issue, we developed a novel nanoparticle delivery method that differs from the nanoparticles reported to date because its core was composed of cross-linked dextran glassy nanoparticles which had pH in endosome-responsive environment and the protein was loaded in the core of cross-linked dextran glassy nanoparticles.
In this study, dextran in a poly(ethylene glycol) aqueous two-phase system created a different chemical environment in which proteins were encapsulated very efficiently (84.3% and 89.6% for enhanced green fluorescent protein and bovine serum albumin, respectively) by thermodynamically favored partition. The structures of the nanoparticles were confirmed by confocal laser scanning microscopy and scanning electron microscopy.
The nanoparticles had a normal size distribution and a mean diameter of 186 nm. MTT assays showed that the nanoparticles were nontoxic up to a concentration of 2000 μg/mL in human hepatocarcinoma cell line SMMC-7721, HeLa, and BRL-3A cells. Of note, confocal laser scanning microscopy studies showed that nanoparticles loaded with fluorescein isothiocyanate-bovine serum albumin were efficiently delivered and released proteins into the cytoplasm of HeLa cells. Flow cytometry and terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase dUTP nick end labeling assays showed that nanoparticles with a functional protein (apoptin) efficiently induced significant tumor cell apoptosis, which was confirmed by DAPI staining.
Our findings indicate that these nanoparticles meet the high demands for delivering protein medicines and have great potential in protein therapy.
PMCID: PMC3771747  PMID: 24039423
cellular uptake; protein delivery; nanoparticles; apoptosis
12.  Enhanced cellular uptake and long-term retention of chitosan-modified iron-oxide nanoparticles for MRI-based cell tracking 
Tracking cells after therapeutic transplantation is imperative for evaluation of implanted cell fate and function. In this study, ultrasmall superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles (USPIO NPs) were surface functionalized with water-soluble chitosan, a cationic polysaccharide that mediates enhanced endocytic uptake, endosomal escape into the cytosol, and subsequent long-term retention of nanoparticles. NP surface and chitosan were independently fluorescently labeled. Our NPs enable NP trafficking studies and determination of fate beyond uptake by fluorescence microscopy as well as tracking of labeled cells as localized regions of hypointensity in T2*-weighted magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) images. Adult rat neural stem cells (NSCs) were labeled with NPs, and assessment of NSC proliferation rates and differentiation potential revealed no significant differences between labeled and unlabeled NSCs. Significantly enhanced uptake of chitosan NPs in comparison to native NPs was confirmed by transmission electron microscopy, nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy and in vitro cellular MRI at 11.7 Tesla. While only negligible fractions of native NPs enter cells, chitosan NPs appear within membranous vesicles within 2 hours of exposure. Additionally, chitosan-functionalized NPs escaped from membrane-bound vesicles within days, circumventing NP endo-lysosomal trafficking and exocytosis and hence enabling long-term tracking of labeled cells. Finally, our labeling strategy does not contain any NSC-specific reagents. To demonstrate general applicability across a variety of primary and immortalized cell types, embryonic mouse NSCs, mouse embryonic stem cells, HEK 293 kidney cells, and HeLa cervical cancer cells were additionally exposed to chitosan-USPIO NPs and exhibited similarly efficient loading as verified by NMR relaxometry. Our efficient and versatile labeling technology can support cell tracking with close to single cell resolution by MRI in vitro, for example, in complex tissue models not optically accessible by confocal or multi-photon fluorescence microscopy, and potentially in vivo, for example, in animal models of human disease or injury.
PMCID: PMC3428249  PMID: 22942643
nanoparticle; iron oxide; chitosan; neural stem cell; cell tracking
13.  Fluorophore Conjugated Iron Oxide Nanoparticle Labeling and Analysis of Engrafting Human Hematopoietic Stem Cells 
Stem cells (Dayton, Ohio)  2007;26(2):517-524.
The use of nanometer-sized iron oxide particles combined with molecular imaging techniques enable dynamic studies of homing and trafficking of human hematopoietic stem cells (HSC). Identifying clinically applicable strategies for loading nanoparticles into primitive HSC requires strictly defined culture conditions to maintain viability without inducing terminal differentiation. In the current study, fluorescent molecules were covalently linked to dextran-coated iron oxide nanoparticles (Feridex) to characterize human HSC labeling to monitor the engraftment process. Conjugating fluorophores to the dextran coat for FACS purification eliminated spurious signals from non-sequestered nanoparticle contaminants. A short-term defined incubation strategy was developed which allowed efficient labeling of both quiescent and cycling HSC, with no discernable toxicity in vitro or in vivo. Transplantation of purified primary human cord blood lineage-depleted and CD34+ cells into immunodeficient mice allowed detection of labeled human HSC in the recipient bones. Flow cytometry was used to precisely quantitate the cell populations that had sequestered the nanoparticles, and to follow their fate post-transplantation. Flow cytometry endpoint analysis confirmed the presence of nanoparticle-labeled human stem cells in the marrow. The use of fluorophore-labeled iron oxide nanoparticles for fluorescence imaging in combination with flow cytometry allows evaluation of labeling efficiencies and homing capabilities of defined human HSC subsets.
PMCID: PMC2863008  PMID: 18055451
Feridex; iron oxide; nanoparticle; immune deficient mice; human stem cells; hematopoiesis; transplantation
14.  Manufacture of IRDye800CW-coupled Fe3O4 nanoparticles and their applications in cell labeling and in vivo imaging 
In recent years, near-infrared fluorescence (NIRF)-labeled iron nanoparticles have been synthesized and applied in a number of applications, including the labeling of human cells for monitoring the engraftment process, imaging tumors, sensoring the in vivo molecular environment surrounding nanoparticles and tracing their in vivo biodistribution. These studies demonstrate that NIRF-labeled iron nanoparticles provide an efficient probe for cell labeling. Furthermore, the in vivo imaging studies show excellent performance of the NIR fluorophores. However, there is a limited selection of NIRF-labeled iron nanoparticles with an optimal wavelength for imaging around 800 nm, where tissue autofluorescence is minimal. Therefore, it is necessary to develop additional alternative NIRF-labeled iron nanoparticles for application in this area.
This study manufactured 12-nm DMSA-coated Fe3O4 nanoparticles labeled with a near-infrared fluorophore, IRDye800CW (excitation/emission, 774/789 nm), to investigate their applicability in cell labeling and in vivo imaging. The mouse macrophage RAW264.7 was labeled with IRDye800CW-labeled Fe3O4 nanoparticles at concentrations of 20, 30, 40, 50, 60, 80 and 100 μg/ml for 24 h. The results revealed that the cells were efficiently labeled by the nanoparticles, without any significant effect on cell viability. The nanoparticles were injected into the mouse via the tail vein, at dosages of 2 or 5 mg/kg body weight, and the mouse was discontinuously imaged for 24 h. The results demonstrated that the nanoparticles gradually accumulated in liver and kidney regions following injection, reaching maximum concentrations at 6 h post-injection, following which they were gradually removed from these regions. After tracing the nanoparticles throughout the body it was revealed that they mainly distributed in three organs, the liver, spleen and kidney. Real-time live-body imaging effectively reported the dynamic process of the biodistribution and clearance of the nanoparticles in vivo.
IRDye800CW-labeled Fe3O4 nanoparticles provide an effective probe for cell-labeling and in vivo imaging.
PMCID: PMC2984479  PMID: 21034487
15.  Molecular Imaging of Pancreatic Cancer in an Animal Model Using Targeted Multifunctional Nanoparticles 
Gastroenterology  2009;136(5):1514-25.e2.
Background & Aims
Identification of a ligand/receptor system that enables functionalized nanoparticles to efficiently target pancreatic cancer holds great promise for the development of novel approaches for the detection and treatment of pancreatic cancer. Urokinase plasminogen activator receptor (uPAR), a cellular receptor that is highly expressed in pancreatic cancer and tumor stromal cells, is an excellent surface molecule for receptor-targeted imaging of pancreatic cancer using multifunctional nanoparticles.
The uPAR-targeted dual-modality molecular imaging nanoparticle probe is designed and prepared by conjugating a near-infrared dye-labeled amino-terminal fragment of the receptor binding domain of urokinase plasminogen activator to the surface of functionalized magnetic iron oxide nanoparticles.
We have shown that the systemic delivery of uPAR-targeted nanoparticles leads to their selective accumulation within tumors of orthotopically xenografted human pancreatic cancer in nude mice. The uPAR-targeted nanoparticle probe binds to and is subsequently internalized by uPAR-expressing tumor cells and tumor-associated stromal cells, which facilitates the intratumoral distribution of the nanoparticles and increases the amount and retention of the nanoparticles in a tumor mass. Imaging properties of the nanoparticles enable in vivo optical and magnetic resonance imaging of uPAR-elevated pancreatic cancer lesions.
Targeting uPAR using biodegradable multifunctional nanoparticles allows for the selective delivery of the nanoparticles into primary and metastatic pancreatic cancer lesions. This novel receptor-targeted nanoparticle is a potential molecular imaging agent for the detection of pancreatic cancer.
PMCID: PMC3651919  PMID: 19208341
16.  Compact Quantum Dots for Single-Molecule Imaging 
Short Abstract
We describe the preparation of colloidal quantum dots with minimized hydrodynamic size for single-molecule fluorescence imaging. Compared to conventional quantum dots, these nanoparticles are similar in size to globular proteins and are optimized for single-molecule brightness, stability against photodegradation, and resistance to nonspecific binding to proteins and cells.
Long Abstract
Single-molecule imaging is an important tool for understanding the mechanisms of biomolecular function and for visualizing the spatial and temporal heterogeneity of molecular behaviors that underlie cellular biology [1–4]. To image an individual molecule of interest, it is typically conjugated to a fluorescent tag (dye, protein, bead, or quantum dot) and observed with epifluorescence or total internal reflection fluorescence (TIRF) microscopy. While dyes and fluorescent proteins have been the mainstay of fluorescence imaging for decades, their fluorescence is unstable under high photon fluxes necessary to observe individual molecules, yielding only a few seconds of observation before complete loss of signal. Latex beads and dye-labeled beads provide improved signal stability but at the expense of drastically larger hydrodynamic size, which can deleteriously alter the diffusion and behavior of the molecule under study.
Quantum dots (QDs) offer a balance between these two problematic regimes. These nanoparticles are composed of semiconductor materials and can be engineered with a hydrodynamically compact size with exceptional resistance to photodegradation [5]. Thus in recent years QDs have been instrumental in enabling long-term observation of complex macromolecular behavior on the single molecule level. However these particles have still been found to exhibit impaired diffusion in crowded molecular environments such as the cellular cytoplasm and the neuronal synaptic cleft, where their sizes are still too large [4,6,7].
Recently we have engineered the cores and surface coatings of QDs for minimized hydrodynamic size, while balancing offsets to colloidal stability, photostability, brightness, and nonspecific binding that have hindered the utility of compact QDs in the past [8,9]. The goal of this article is to demonstrate the synthesis, modification, and characterization of these optimized nanocrystals, composed of an alloyed HgxCd1-xSe core coated with an insulating CdyZn1-yS shell, further coated with a multidentate polymer ligand modified with short polyethylene glycol (PEG) chains (Figure 1). Compared with conventional CdSe nanocrystals, HgxCd1-xSe alloys offer greater quantum yields of fluorescence, fluorescence at red and near-infrared wavelengths for enhanced signal-to-noise in cells, and excitation at non-cytotoxic visible wavelengths. Multidentate polymer coatings bind to the nanocrystal surface in a closed and flat conformation to minimize hydrodynamic size, and PEG neutralizes the surface charge to minimize nonspecific binding to cells and biomolecules. The end result is a brightly fluorescent nanocrystal with emission between 550–800 nm and a total hydrodynamic size near 12 nm. This is in the same size range as many soluble globular proteins in cells, and substantially smaller than conventional PEGylated QDs (25–35 nm).
PMCID: PMC3490296  PMID: 23093375
Nanoparticle; nanocrystal; synthesis; fluorescence; microscopy; imaging; conjugation; dynamics; intracellular; receptor
17.  Pulsed Magneto-motive Ultrasound Imaging Using Ultrasmall Magnetic Nanoprobes 
Molecular imaging  2011;10(2):102-110.
Nano-sized particles are widely regarded as a tool to study biologic events at the cellular and molecular levels. However, only some imaging modalities can visualize interaction between nanoparticles and living cells. We present a new technique, pulsed magneto-motive ultrasound imaging, which is capable of in vivo imaging of magnetic nanoparticles in real time and at sufficient depth. In pulsed magneto-motive ultrasound imaging, an external high-strength pulsed magnetic field is applied to induce the motion within the magnetically labeled tissue and ultrasound is used to detect the induced internal tissue motion. Our experiments demonstrated a sufficient contrast between normal and iron-laden cells labeled with ultrasmall magnetic nanoparticles. Therefore, pulsed magneto-motive ultrasound imaging could become an imaging tool capable of detecting magnetic nanoparticles and characterizing the cellular and molecular composition of deep-lying structures.
PMCID: PMC3101631  PMID: 21439255
18.  Preparation and characterization of magnetic nanoparticles containing Fe3O4-dextran-anti-β-human chorionic gonadotropin, a new generation choriocarcinoma-specific gene vector 
To evaluate the feasibility of using magnetic iron oxide (Fe3O4)-dextran-anti-β-human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) nanoparticles as a gene vector for cellular transfections.
Study design:
Fe3O4-dextran-anti-β-HCG nanoparticles were synthesized by chemical coprecipitation. The configuration, diameter, and iron content of the nanoparticles were detected by transmission electron microscopy (TEM), light scatter, and atomic absorption spectrophotometry. A3-(4,5)-dimethylthiahiazo(-z-y1)-3,5-di-phenytetrazoliumromide assay was used to evaluate the cytotoxicity of Fe3O4-dextran-anti-β-HCG nanoparticles. Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and indirect immunofluorescence were used to evaluate immunoreactivity. The efficiency of absorbing DNA and resisting deoxyribonuclease I (DNase I) digestion when bound to Fe3O4-dextran-anti-β-HCG nanoparticles was examined by agarose gel electrophoresis. The ability of Fe3O4-dextran-anti-β-HCG nanoparticles to absorb heparanase antisense oligodeoxynucleotides (AS-ODN) nanoparticles in different cell lines was evaluated by flow cytometry. The tissue distribution of heparanase AS-ODN magnetic nanoparticles in choriocarcinoma tumors transplanted in nude mice was detected by atomic absorption spectrophotometry.
TEM demonstrated that the shape of nanoparticles is irregular. Light scatter revealed nanoparticles with a mean diameter of 75.5 nm and an iron content of 37.5 μg/mL. No cytotoxicity was observed when the concentration of Fe3O4-dextran-anti-β-HCG nanoparticles was <37.5 μg/mL. Fe3O4-dextran nanoparticles have a satisfactory potential to combine with β-HCG antibody. Agarose gel electrophoresis analysis of binding experiments showed that after treatment with sodium periodate, Fe3O4-dextran-anti-β-HCG nanoparticles have a satisfactory potential to absorb DNA, and the protection experiment showed that nanoparticles can effectively protect DNA from DNase I digestion. Aldehyde Fe3O4-dextran-anti-β-HCG nanoparticles can transfect reporter genes, and the transfection efficiency of these nanoparticles is greater than that of liposomes (P < 0.05). Fe3O4-dextran-anti-β-HCG nanoparticles can concentrate in choriocarcinoma cells and in transplanted choriocarcinoma tumors.
The results confirm that Fe3O4-dextran-anti-β-HCG nanoparticles have potential as a secure, effective, and choriocarcinoma-specific targeting gene vector.
PMCID: PMC3044181  PMID: 21383853
magnetic nanoparticles; Fe3O4-dextran-anti-β-HCG; choriocarcinoma; targeting vector; gene vector
19.  Receptor-Targeted Nanoparticles for In Vivo Imaging of Breast Cancer 
Cell surface receptor-targeted magnetic iron oxide (IO) nanoparticles provide molecular magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) contrast agents for improving specificity of the detection of human cancer.
Experimental design
The present study reports the development of a novel targeted IO nanoparticle using a recombinant peptide containing the amino-terminal fragment (ATF) of urokinase plasminogen activator conjugated to IO nanoparticles (ATF-IO). This nanoparticle targets urokinase plasminogen activator receptor (uPAR), which is overexpressed in breast cancer tissues.
ATF-IO nanoparticles are able to specifically bind to and be internalized by uPAR-expressing tumor cells. Systemic delivery of ATF-IO nanoparticles into mice bearing subcutaneous and intraperitoneal mammary tumors leads to the accumulation of the particles in tumors, generating a strong MRI contrast detectable by a clinical MRI scanner at a field strength of 3 Tesla. Target specificity of ATF-IO nanoparticles demonstrated by in vivo MRI is further confirmed by near infrared (NIR) fluorescence imaging of the mammary tumors using NIR dye-labeled ATF peptides conjugated to IO nanoparticles. Furthermore, mice administered ATF-IO nanoparticles exhibit lower uptake of the particles in the liver and spleen compared to those receiving non-targeted IO nanoparticles.
Our results suggest that uPAR-targeted ATF-IO nanoparticles have potential as molecularly-targeted, dual modality imaging agents for in vivo imaging of breast cancer.
PMCID: PMC2727672  PMID: 19584158
magnetic resonance imaging; near infrared optical imaging; molecular imaging; magnetic iron oxide nanoparticle; urokinase plasminogen receptor; breast cancer
20.  Formulation of novel lipid-coated magnetic nanoparticles as the probe for in vivo imaging 
Application of superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles (SPIOs) as the contrast agent has improved the quality of magnetic resonance (MR) imaging. Low efficiency of loading the commercially available iron oxide nanoparticles into cells and the cytotoxicity of previously formulated complexes limit their usage as the image probe. Here, we formulated new cationic lipid nanoparticles containing SPIOs feasible for in vivo imaging.
Hydrophobic SPIOs were incorporated into cationic lipid 1,2-dioleoyl-3-(trimethylammonium) propane (DOTAP) and polyethylene-glycol-2000-1,2-distearyl-3-sn-phosphatidylethanolamine (PEG-DSPE) based micelles by self-assembly procedure to form lipid-coated SPIOs (L-SPIOs). Trace amount of Rhodamine-dioleoyl-phosphatidylethanolamine (Rhodamine-DOPE) was added as a fluorescent indicator. Particle size and zeta potential of L-SPIOs were determined by Dynamic Light Scattering (DLS) and Laser Doppler Velocimetry (LDV), respectively. HeLa, PC-3 and Neuro-2a cells were tested for loading efficiency and cytotoxicity of L-SPIOs using fluorescent microscopy, Prussian blue staining and flow cytometry. L-SPIO-loaded CT-26 cells were tested for in vivo MR imaging.
The novel formulation generates L-SPIOs particle with the average size of 46 nm. We showed efficient cellular uptake of these L-SPIOs with cationic surface charge into HeLa, PC-3 and Neuro-2a cells. The L-SPIO-loaded cells exhibited similar growth potential as compared to unloaded cells, and could be sorted by a magnet stand over ten-day duration. Furthermore, when SPIO-loaded CT-26 tumor cells were injected into Balb/c mice, the growth status of these tumor cells could be monitored using optical and MR images.
We have developed a novel cationic lipid-based nanoparticle of SPIOs with high loading efficiency, low cytotoxicity and long-term imaging signals. The results suggested these newly formulated non-toxic lipid-coated magnetic nanoparticles as a versatile image probe for cell tracking.
PMCID: PMC2758848  PMID: 19772552
21.  Cytotoxicity of iron oxide nanoparticles made from the thermal decomposition of organometallics and aqueous phase transfer with Pluronic F127 
Magnetic nanoparticles are promising molecular imaging agents due to their relative high relaxivity and the potential to modify surface functionality to tailor biodistribution. In this work we describe the synthesis of magnetic nanoparticles using organic solvents with organometallic precursors. This method results in nanoparticles that are highly crystalline, and have uniform size and shape. The ability to create a monodispersion of particles of the same size and shape results in unique magnetic properties that can be useful for biomedical applications with MR imaging. Before these nanoparticles can be used in biological applications, however, means are needed to make the nanoparticles soluble in aqueous solutions and the toxicity of these nanoparticles needs to be studied.
We have developed two methods to surface modify and transfer these nanoparticles to the aqueous phase using the biocompatible co-polymer, Pluronic F127. Cytotoxicity was found to be dependent on the coating procedure used. Nanoparticle effects on a cell-culture model was quantified using concurrent assaying; a LDH assay to determine cytotoxicity and an MTS assay to determine viability for a 24 hour incubation period. Concurrent assaying was done to insure that nanoparticles did not interfere with the colorimetric assay results.
This report demonstrates that a monodispersion of nanoparticles of uniform size and shape can be manufactured. Initial cytotoxicity testing of new molecular imaging agents need to be carefully constructed to avoid interference and erroneous results.
PMCID: PMC3020093  PMID: 20623517
MRI; molecular imaging; nanoparticles; superparamagnetic agents; cytotoxicity; Colorimetric Assay; Pluronics
22.  Preparation and Characterization of Fe3O4/CdTe Magnetic/Fluorescent Nanocomposites and their Applications in Immuno-labeling and Fluorescent Imaging of Cancer Cells 
The synthesis of a new kind of magnetic, fluorescent multifunctional nanoparticles (~30 nm in diameter) was demonstrated, where multiple fluorescent CdTe quantum dots (QDs) are covalently linked to and assembled around individual silica-coated superparamagnetic Fe3O4 nanoparticles and active carboxylic groups are presented on the surface for easy bioconjugation with biomolecules. The Fe3O4 nanoparticles were firstly functionalized with thiol groups, followed by chemical conjugation with multiple thioglycolic acid modified CdTe QDs to form water-soluble Fe3O4/CdTe magnetic/fluorescent nanocomposites. X-ray diffraction, infrared spectroscopy, transmission electron microscopy, absorption and fluorescence spectroscopy, and magnetometry were applied to fully characterize the multifunctional nanocomposites. The nanocomposites were found to exhibit magnetic and fluorescent properties favorable for their applications in magnetic separation and guiding as well as fluorescent imaging. The carboxyl groups on the nanocomposite surface were proved to be chemically active and readily available for further bioconjugation with biomolecules such as bovine serum albumin and antibodies, enabling the applications of the nanocomposites for specific recognition of biological targets. The Fe3O4/CdTe magnetic/fluorescent nanocomposites conjugated with anti-CEACAM8 antibody were successfully employed for immuno-labeling and fluorescent imaging of HeLa cells.
PMCID: PMC2806507  PMID: 19775134
Fe3O4 magnetic nanoparticles; quantum dots; multifunctional nanoparticles; Hela cells; immuno-labeling; fluorescence imaging
23.  Manipulation of isolated brain nerve terminals by an external magnetic field using D-mannose-coated γ-Fe2O3 nano-sized particles and assessment of their effects on glutamate transport 
The manipulation of brain nerve terminals by an external magnetic field promises breakthroughs in nano-neurotechnology. D-Mannose-coated superparamagnetic nanoparticles were synthesized by coprecipitation of Fe(II) and Fe(III) salts followed by oxidation with sodium hypochlorite and addition of D-mannose. Effects of D-mannose-coated superparamagnetic maghemite (γ-Fe2O3) nanoparticles on key characteristics of the glutamatergic neurotransmission were analysed. Using radiolabeled L-[14C]glutamate, it was shown that D-mannose-coated γ-Fe2O3 nanoparticles did not affect high-affinity Na+-dependent uptake, tonic release and the extracellular level of L-[14C]glutamate in isolated rat brain nerve terminals (synaptosomes). Also, the membrane potential of synaptosomes and acidification of synaptic vesicles was not changed as a result of the application of D-mannose-coated γ-Fe2O3 nanoparticles. This was demonstrated with the potential-sensitive fluorescent dye rhodamine 6G and the pH-sensitive dye acridine orange. The study also focused on the analysis of the potential use of these nanoparticles for manipulation of nerve terminals by an external magnetic field. It was shown that more than 84.3 ± 5.0% of L-[14C]glutamate-loaded synaptosomes (1 mg of protein/mL) incubated for 5 min with D-mannose-coated γ-Fe2O3 nanoparticles (250 µg/mL) moved to an area, in which the magnet (250 mT, gradient 5.5 Т/m) was applied compared to 33.5 ± 3.0% of the control and 48.6 ± 3.0% of samples that were treated with uncoated nanoparticles. Therefore, isolated brain nerve terminals can be easily manipulated by an external magnetic field using D-mannose-coated γ-Fe2O3 nanoparticles, while the key characteristics of glutamatergic neurotransmission are not affected. In other words, functionally active synaptosomes labeled with D-mannose-coated γ-Fe2O3 nanoparticles were obtained.
PMCID: PMC4077395  PMID: 24991515
extracellular level; γ-Fe2O3; glutamate uptake and release; manipulation by an external magnetic field; D-mannose; membrane potential; nanoparticles; rat brain nerve terminals; synaptic vesicle acidification
24.  Multifunctional nanoagent for thrombus-targeted fibrinolytic therapy 
Nanomedicine (London, England)  2012;7(7):1017-1028.
Current thrombolytic therapies rely upon exogenous plasminogen activators (PA) to effectively lyse clots, thereby restoring blood flow and preventing tissue and organ death. Yet, these PAs may also impair normal hemostasis which may lead to life-threatening bleeding, including intracerebral hemorrhage. Thus, the aim of this current study is to develop new thrombus-targeted fibrinolytic agents that harness the multifunctional theranostic capabilities of nanomaterials, potentially allowing for the generation of efficacious thrombolytics while minimizing deleterious side effects.
Materials and Methods
A thrombus-targeted nano-fibrinolytic agent (CLIO-FXIII-PEG-tPA) was synthesized using a magnetofluorescent crosslinked dextran-coated iron oxide (CLIO) nanoparticle platform that was conjugated to recombinant tissue plasminogen activator (tPA). Thrombus-targeting was achieved by derivatizing the nanoparticle with an activated factor XIII (FXIIIa)-sensitive peptide based on the amino terminus of α2-antiplasmin. Human plasma clot binding ability of the targeted and control agents was assessed by fluorescence reflectance imaging. Next, the in vitro enzymatic activity of the agents was assessed by S2288-based amidolytic activity, and an ELISA D-dimer assay for fibrinolysis. In vivo targeting of the nanoagent was next examined by intravital fluorescence microscopy of murine arterial and venous thrombosis. The fibrinolytic activity of the targeted nanoagent compared to free tPA was then evaluated in vivo in murine pulmonary embolism.
In vitro, the targeted thrombolytic nanoagent demonstrated binding to fresh frozen plasma (FFP) clots superior to control nanoagents (ANOVA p < 0.05). On a weight (mg) basis, the S2288 amidolytic efficiency of the targeted nanoagent was approximately 15% reduced compared to free tPA. When normalized by S2288-based activity, targeted, control, and free tPA samples demonstrated equivalent in vitro fibrinolytic activity against human plasma clots, as determined by ELISA D-dimer assays. The FXIIIa targeted fibrinolytic nanoagent efficiently bound the margin of intravascular thrombi as detected by IVFM. In in vivo fibrinolysis studies normalized for activity, the FXIIIa-targeted agent lysed pulmonary emboli with similar efficacy as free tPA (p>0.05).
The applicability of a FXIIIa-targeted thrombolytic nanoagent in the treatment of thromboembolism was demonstrated in vitro and in vivo. Future studies are planned to investigate the safety profile and overall efficacy of this class of nanoagents, and to further optimize their thrombus-targeting profile and lytic action.
PMCID: PMC3360120  PMID: 22348271
Fibrinolytic; iron oxide; therapy; thrombosis; multimodal; theranostic; imaging
25.  Iodinated oil-loaded, fluorescent mesoporous silica-coated iron oxide nanoparticles for magnetic resonance imaging/computed tomography/fluorescence trimodal imaging 
In this study, a novel magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)/computed tomography (CT)/fluorescence trifunctional probe was prepared by loading iodinated oil into fluorescent mesoporous silica-coated superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles (i-fmSiO4@SPIONs). Fluorescent mesoporous silica-coated superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles (fmSiO4@SPIONs) were prepared by growing fluorescent dye-doped silica onto superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles (SPIONs) directed by a cetyltrimethylammonium bromide template. As prepared, fmSiO4@SPIONs had a uniform size, a large surface area, and a large pore volume, which demonstrated high efficiency for iodinated oil loading. Iodinated oil loading did not change the sizes of fmSiO4@SPIONs, but they reduced the MRI T2 relaxivity (r2) markedly. I-fmSiO4@SPIONs were stable in their physical condition and did not demonstrate cytotoxic effects under the conditions investigated. In vitro studies indicated that the contrast enhancement of MRI and CT, and the fluorescence signal intensity of i-fmSiO4@SPION aqueous suspensions and macrophages, were intensified with increased i-fmSiO4@SPION concentrations in suspension and cell culture media. Moreover, for the in vivo study, the accumulation of i-fmSiO4@SPIONs in the liver could also be detected by MRI, CT, and fluorescence imaging. Our study demonstrated that i-fmSiO4@SPIONs had great potential for MRI/CT/fluorescence trimodal imaging.
PMCID: PMC4039419  PMID: 24904212
multifunctional probe; SPIONs; mesoporous silica; iodinated oil

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