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1.  The permeability of SPION over an artificial three-layer membrane is enhanced by external magnetic field 
Sensorineural hearing loss, a subset of all clinical hearing loss, may be correctable through the use of gene therapy. We are testing a delivery system of therapeutics through a 3 cell-layer round window membrane model (RWM model) that may provide an entry of drugs or genes to the inner ear. We designed an in vitro RWM model similar to the RWM (will be referred to throughout the paper as RWM model) to determine the feasibility of using superparamagnetic iron oxide (Fe3O4) nanoparticles (SPION) for targeted delivery of therapeutics to the inner ear.
The RWM model is a 3 cell-layer model with epithelial cells cultured on both sides of a small intestinal submucosal (SIS) matrix and fibroblasts seeded in between. Dextran encapsulated nanoparticle clusters 130 nm in diameter were pulled through the RWM model using permanent magnets with flux density 0.410 Tesla at the pole face. The SIS membranes were harvested at day 7 and then fixed in 4% paraformaldehyde. Transmission electron microscopy and fluorescence spectrophotometry were used to verify transepithelial transport of the SPION across the cell-culture model. Histological sections were examined for evidence of SPION toxicity, as well to generate a timeline of the position of the SPION at different times. SPION also were added to cells in culture to assess in vitro toxicity.
Transepithelial electrical resistance measurements confirmed epithelial confluence, as SPION crossed a membrane consisting of three co-cultured layers of cells, under the influence of a magnetic field. Micrographs showed SPION distributed throughout the membrane model, in between cell layers, and sometimes on the surface of cells. TEM verified that the SPION were pulled through the membrane into the culture well below. Fluorescence spectrophotometry quantified the number of SPION that went through the SIS membrane. SPION showed no toxicity to cells in culture.
A three-cell layer model of the human round window membrane has been constructed. SPION have been magnetically transported through this model, allowing quantitative evaluation of prospective targeted drug or gene delivery through the RWM. Putative in vivo carrier superparamagnetic nanoparticles may be evaluated using this model.
PMCID: PMC1475881  PMID: 16603066
2.  Magnetic Targeted Delivery of Dexamethasone Acetate across the Round Window Membrane in Guinea Pigs 
Magnetically susceptible PLGA nanoparticles will effectively target the round window membrane (RWM) for delivery of dexamethasone-acetate (Dex-Ac) to the scala tympani.
Targeted delivery of therapeutics to specific tissues can be accomplished using different targeting mechanisms. One technology includes iron oxide nanoparticles, susceptible to external magnetic fields. If a nanocomposite composed of biocompatible polymer (PLGA), magnetite, and Dex-Ac can be pulled into and across the mammalian RWM, drug delivery can be enhanced.
In vitro targeting and release kinetics of PLGA-magnetite-Dex-Ac nanoparticles first were measured using a RWM model. Next, these optimized nanocomposites were targeted to the RWM by filling the niche in anesthetized guinea pigs. A permanent magnet was placed opposite the RWM for 1 hour. Cochlear soft tissues, perilymph, and RWM were harvested after euthanasia and steroid levels were measured using HPLC.
Membrane transport, in vitro, proved optimal targeting using a lower particle magnetite concentration (1 versus 5 or 10 mg/ml). In vivo targeted PLGA-magnetite-Dex-Ac particles had an average size of 482.8 ± 158 nm (DLS) and an average zeta potential −19.9 ± 3.3 mV. In 1 hour, there was significantly increased cochlear targeted delivery of Dex or Dex-Ac, compared with diffusion alone.
Superparamagnetic PLGA-magnetite-Dex-Ac nanoparticles under an external magnetic field (0.26 mT) for 1 hour significantly increased Dex-Ac delivery to the inner ear. The RWM was not completely permeated and also became loaded with nanocomposites, indicating that delivery to the cochlea would continue for weeks by PLGA degradation and passive diffusion.
PMCID: PMC3522431  PMID: 23187928
Dexamethasone acetate; Magnetic targeting; Poly(lactide-co-glycolide); Round window membrane; Sensorineural hearing loss
3.  Superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles conjugated with epidermal growth factor (SPION–EGF) for targeting brain tumors 
Superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles (SPIONs) conjugated with recombinant human epidermal growth factor (SPION–EGF) were studied as a potential agent for magnetic resonance imaging contrast enhancement of malignant brain tumors. Synthesized conjugates were characterized by transmission electron microscopy, dynamic light scattering, and nuclear magnetic resonance relaxometry. The interaction of SPION–EGF conjugates with cells was analyzed in a C6 glioma cell culture. The distribution of the nanoparticles and their accumulation in tumors were assessed by magnetic resonance imaging in an orthotopic model of C6 gliomas. SPION–EGF nanosuspensions had the properties of a negative contrast agent with high coefficients of relaxation efficiency. In vitro studies of SPION–EGF nanoparticles showed high intracellular incorporation and the absence of a toxic influence on C6 cell viability and proliferation. Intravenous administration of SPION–EGF conjugates in animals provided receptor-mediated targeted delivery across the blood–brain barrier and tumor retention of the nanoparticles; this was more efficient than with unconjugated SPIONs. The accumulation of conjugates in the glioma was revealed as hypotensive zones on T2-weighted images with a twofold reduction in T2 relaxation time in comparison to unconjugated SPIONs (P<0.001). SPION–EGF conjugates provide targeted delivery and efficient magnetic resonance contrast enhancement of EGFR-overexpressing C6 gliomas.
PMCID: PMC3888267  PMID: 24421639
brain tumor; C6 glioma; magnetic nanoparticles; EGFR; epidermal growth factor; MRI contrast agent; SPION
4.  Compact Zwitterion-coated Iron Oxide Nanoparticles for In Vitro and In Vivo Imaging 
We have recently developed compact and water-soluble zwitterionic dopamine sulfonate (ZDS) ligand coated superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles (SPIONs) for use in various biomedical applications. The defining characteristics of ZDS-coated SPIONs are small hydrodynamic diameters, low non-specific interactions with fetal bovine serum, the opportunity for specific labeling, and stability with respect to time, pH, and salinity. We report here on the magnetic characterization of ZDS-coated SPIONs and their in vitro and in vivo performance relative to non-specific interactions with HeLa cells and in mice, respectively. ZDS-coated SPIONs retained the superparamagnetism and saturation magnetization (Ms) of as-synthesized hydrophobic SPIONs, with Ms=74 emu/g [Fe]. Moreover, ZDS-coated SPIONs showed only small non-specific uptake into HeLa cancer cells in vitro and low non-specific binding to serum proteins in vivo in mice.
PMCID: PMC3524371  PMID: 23042209
5.  Comparison of Two Ultrasmall Superparamagnetic Iron Oxides on Cytotoxicity and MR Imaging of Tumors 
Theranostics  2012;2(1):76-85.
Purpose: This study was performed to compare the cytotoxicity and magnetic resonance (MR) contrast in diverse cultured cells and xenograft tumors models of two ultra-small superparamagnetic iron oxides (USPIOs), thermally cross-linked superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles (TCL-SPION) and monocrystalline iron oxide nanoparticles (MION-47).
Materials and methods: Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) images and R2 relaxivity values of the TCL-SPION and MION-47 were obtained and the cell viability and cell growth velocity of treated and untreated human fibroblasts and human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVEC) were evaluated. The effect of TCL-SPION and MION-47 on the secretion of interlukin-6 (IL-6) and tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α), the production of nitric oxides and the mitochondrial membrane potentials in murine macrophage cells (RAW264.7) was compared. Human hepatocellular carcinoma cells (HepG2, 5x105) were subcutaneously injected into nude mice (BALB/c) and in vivo MR imaging of tumors before and after injection with TCL-SPION or MION-47 (12.5 mg Fe/kg) was performed on a 1.5 Tesla MRI scanner.
Results: On TEM images, the average core diameter of TCL-SPION was 9 nm whereas that of MION-47 was 5 nm. TCL- SPION (345.0 ± 6.2 mM-1sec-1) had higher relaxivity (R2) than MION-47 (130.7 ± 1.1 mM-1sec-1). Significant changes in cell viability and growth were not found in human fibroblasts and HUVEC exposed to TCL-SPION and MION-47. However, IL-6 and TNF-α secretions increased dose-dependently and significantly in the macrophages treated with MION-47 or TCL-SPION. TCL-SPION had a lower stimulatory effect on IL-6 secretions than did MION-47 (P <0.05) and nitric oxides were produced in the macrophages by MION-47 but not TCL-SPION. A change in the mitochondrial membrane potential of the macrophages was observed 24 hours after the exposure, and MION-47 induced more collapses of the mitochondrial membrane potential than did TCL-SPION. In the in vivo MR imaging, 33.0 ± 1.3% and 7.5 ± 0.4% signal intensity decrease on T2*-weighted images was observed in the tumors injected with TCL-SPION and MION-47, respectively.
Conclusion: Due to the modified surface properties and larger core size of its iron oxide nanoparticles, TCL-SPION achieves lower cytotoxicity and better tumor MR contrast than MION-47. Our study suggests that TCL-SPION may be used as a new platform for tumor imaging and therapy monitoring.
PMCID: PMC3263518  PMID: 22272221
Ultra-small superparamagnetic iron oxides; Magnetic resonance imaging; TCL-SPION; MION-47; Tumor targeting.
6.  Characterization of Free and Porous Silicon-Encapsulated Superparamagnetic Iron Oxide Nanoparticles as Platforms for the Development of Theranostic Vaccines 
Tracking vaccine components from the site of injection to their destination in lymphatic tissue, and simultaneously monitoring immune effects, sheds light on the influence of vaccine components on particle and immune cell trafficking and therapeutic efficacy. In this study, we create a hybrid particle vaccine platform comprised of porous silicon (pSi) and superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles (SPIONs). The impact of nanoparticle size and mode of presentation on magnetic resonance contrast enhancement are examined. SPION-enhanced relaxivity increased as the core diameter of the nanoparticle increased, while encapsulation of SPIONs within a pSi matrix had only minor effects on T2 and no significant effect on T2* relaxation. Following intravenous injection of single and hybrid particles, there was an increase in negative contrast in the spleen, with changes in contrast being slightly greater for free compared to silicon encapsulated SPIONs. Incubation of bone marrow-derived dendritic cells (BMDC) with pSi microparticles loaded with SPIONs, SIINFEKL peptide, and lipopolysaccharide stimulated immune cell interactions and interferon gamma production in OT-1 TCR transgenic CD8+ T cells. Overall, the hybrid particle platform enabled presentation of a complex payload that was traceable, stimulated functional T cell and BMDC interactions, and resolved in cellular activation of T cells in response to a specific antigen.
PMCID: PMC4057016  PMID: 24932409
porous silicon; iron oxide; magnetic resonance; antigen; adjuvant; vaccine
7.  Differences in magnetically induced motion of diamagnetic, paramagnetic, and superparamagnetic microparticles detected by Cell Tracking Velocimetry 
The Analyst  2008;133(12):1767-1775.
Magnetic separation in biomedical applications is based on differential magnetophoretic mobility (MM) of microparticulate matter in viscous media. Typically, the difference in MM is obtained by selectively labeling the target cells with superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles(SPIONs). We have measured the MM of monodisperse, polystyrene microspheres (PSMs), with and without attached SPIONs as a model of cell motion induced by nanoparticle magnetization, using variable H field and Cell Tracking Velocimetry (CTV). As a model of paramagnetic microparticle motion, the MM measurements were performed on the same PSMs in paramagnetic gadolinium solutions, and on spores of a prokaryotic organism, Bacillus globigii (shown to contain paramagnetic manganese). The CTV analysis was sensitive to the type of the microparticle magnetization, producing a value of MM independent of the applied H field for the paramagnetic species, and a decreasing MM value with an increasing field for superparamagnetic species, as predicted from theory. The SPION-labeled PSMs exhibited a saturation magnetization above H ≅ 64,000 A m−1 (or 0.08 tesla). Based on those data, the average saturation magnetizations of the SPIONs was calculated and shown to vary between different commercial sources. The results demonstrate sensitivity of the CTV analysis to different magnetization mechanisms of the microparticles.
PMCID: PMC2801409  PMID: 19082082
8.  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
9.  Superparamagnetic Iron Oxide Nanoparticles Coated with Galactose-Carrying Polymer for Hepatocyte Targeting 
Our goal is to develop the functionalized superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles (SPIONs) demonstrating the capacities to be delivered in liver specifically and to be dispersed in physiological environment stably. For this purpose, SPIONs were coated with polyvinylbenzyl-O-β-D-galactopyranosyl-D-gluconamide (PVLA) having galactose moieties to be recognized by asialoglycoprotein receptors (ASGP-R) on hepatocytes. For use as a control, we also prepared SPIONs coordinated with 2-pyrrolidone. The sizes, size distribution, structure, and coating of the nanoparticles were characterized by transmission electron microscopy (TEM), electrophoretic light scattering spectrophotometer (ELS), X-ray diffractometer (XRD), and Fourier transform infrared (FT-IR), respectively. Intracellular uptake of the PVLA-coated SPIONs was visualized by confocal laser scanning microscopy, and their hepatocyte-specific delivery was also investigated through magnetic resonance (MR) images of rat liver. MRI experimental results indicated that the PVLA-coated SPIONs possess the more specific accumulation property in liver compared with control, which suggests their potential utility as liver-targeting MRI contrast agent.
PMCID: PMC2254526  PMID: 18317519
10.  Subtle cytotoxicity and genotoxicity differences in superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles coated with various functional groups 
Superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles (SPIONs) have been widely utilized for the diagnosis and therapy of specific diseases, as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) contrast agents and drug-delivery carriers, due to their easy transportation to targeted areas by an external magnetic field. For such biomedical applications, SPIONs must have multifunctional characteristics, including optimized size and modified surface. However, the biofunctionality and biocompatibility of SPIONs with various surface functional groups of different sizes have yet to be elucidated clearly. Therefore, it is important to carefully monitor the cytotoxicity and genotoxicity of SPIONs that are surfaced-modified with various functional groups of different sizes. In this study, we evaluated SPIONs with diameters of approximately 10 nm and 100~150 nm, containing different surface functional groups. SPIONs were covered with −O− groups, so-called bare SPIONs. Following this, they were modified with three different functional groups – hydroxyl (−OH), carboxylic (−COOH), and amine (−NH2) groups – by coating their surfaces with tetraethyl orthosilicate (TEOS), (3-aminopropyl)trimethoxysilane (APTMS), TEOS-APTMS, or citrate, which imparted different surface charges and sizes to the particles. The effects of SPIONs coated with these functional groups on mitochondrial activity, intracellular accumulation of reactive oxygen species, membrane integrity, and DNA stability in L-929 fibroblasts were determined by water-soluble tetrazolium, 2′,7′-dichlorodihydrofluorescein, lactate dehydrogenase, and comet assays, respectively. Our toxicological observations suggest that the functional groups and sizes of SPIONs are critical determinants of cellular responses, degrees of cytotoxicity and genotoxicity, and potential mechanisms of toxicity. Nanoparticles with various surface modifications and of different sizes induced slight, but possibly meaningful, changes in cell cytotoxicity and genotoxicity, which would be significantly valuable in further studies of bioconjugation and cell interaction for drug delivery, cell culture, and cancer-targeting applications.
PMCID: PMC3254266  PMID: 22238510
superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles; surface functional groups; cytotoxicity; genotoxicity
11.  Magnetite Nanoparticles for Medical MR Imaging 
Nanotechnology has given scientists new tools for the development of advanced materials for the detection and diagnosis of disease. Iron oxide nanoparticles (SPIONs) in particular have been extensively investigated as novel magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) contrast agents due to a combination of favorable superparamagnetic properties, biodegradability, and surface properties of easy modification for improved in vivo kinetics and multifunctionality. This review discusses the basics of MR imaging, the origin of SPION’s unique magnetic properties, recent developments in MRI acquisition methods for detection of SPIONs, synthesis and post-synthesis processes that improve SPION’s imaging characteristics, and an outlook on the translational potential of SPIONs.
PMCID: PMC3290401  PMID: 22389583
12.  In vitro removal of toxic heavy metals by poly(γ-glutamic acid)-coated superparamagnetic nanoparticles 
Chelation therapy involving organic chelators for treatment of heavy metal intoxication can cause cardiac arrest, kidney overload, mineral deficiency, and anemia.
In this study, superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles (SPIONs) modified with an edible biopolymer poly(γ-glutamic acid) (PGA) were synthesized by coprecipitation method, characterized and evaluated for their removal efficiency of heavy metals from a metal solution, and simulated gastrointestinal fluid (SGIF).
Instrumental characterization of bare- and PGA-SPIONs revealed 7% coating of PGA on SPIONs with a spherical shape and an iron oxide spinel structure belonging to magnetite. The particle sizes as determined from transmission electron microscopy images were 8.5 and 11.7 nm for bare- and PGA-SPIONs, respectively, while the magnetization values were 70.3 and 61.5 emu/g. Upon coating with PGA, the zeta potentials were shifted from positive to negative at most of the environmental pH (3–8) and biological pH (1–8), implying good dispersion in aqueous suspension and favorable conditions for heavy metal removal. Batch studies showed rapid removal of lead and cadmium with the kinetic rates estimated by pseudo-second-order model being 0.212 and 0.424 g/mg·min, respectively. A maximum removal occurred in the pH range 4–8 in deionized water and 5–8 in SGIF corresponding to most gastrointestinal pH except for the stomach. Addition of different ionic strengths (0.001–1 M sodium acetate) and essential metals (Cu, Fe, Zn, Mg, Ca, and K) did not show any marked influence on lead removal by PGA-SPIONs, but significantly reduced the binding of cadmium. Compared to deionized water, the lead removal from SGIF was high at all pH with the Langmuir monolayer removal capacity being 98.70 mg/g for the former and 147.71 mg/g for the latter. However, a lower cadmium removal capacity was shown for SGIF (23.15 mg/g) than for deionized water (31.13 mg/g).
These results suggest that PGA-SPIONs could be used as a metal chelator for clinical treatment of metal poisoning.
PMCID: PMC3420602  PMID: 22927758
superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles; poly(γ-glutamic acid); heavy metals; chelation therapy; gastrointestinal pH; kinetics
13.  Metabolic pathway and distribution of superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles: in vivo study 
Experimental tissue fusion benefits from the selective heating of superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles (SPIONs) under high frequency irradiation. However, the metabolic pathways of SPIONs for tissue fusion remain unknown. Hence, the goal of this in vivo study was to analyze the distribution of SPIONs in different organs by means of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and histological analysis after a SPION-containing patch implantation.
SPION-containing patches were implanted in rats. Three animal groups were studied histologically over six months. Degradation assessment of the SPION-albumin patch was performed in vivo using MRI for iron content localization and biodistribution.
No SPION degradation or accumulation into the reticuloendothelial system was detected by MRI, MRI relaxometry, or histology, outside the area of the implantation patch. Concentrations from 0.01 μg/mL to 25 μg/mL were found to be hyperintense in T1-like gradient echo sequences. The best differentiation of concentrations was found in T2 relaxometry, susceptibility-sensitive gradient echo sequences, and in high repetition time T2 images. Qualitative and semiquantitative visualization of small concentrations and accumulation of SPIONs by MRI are feasible. In histological liver samples, Kupffer cells were significantly correlated with postimplantation time, but no differences were observed between sham-treated and induction/no induction groups. Transmission electron microscopy showed local uptake of SPIONs in macrophages and cells of the reticuloendothelial system. Apoptosis staining using caspase showed no increased toxicity compared with sham-treated tissue. Implanted SPION patches were relatively inert with slow, progressive local degradation over the six-month period. No distant structural alterations in the studied tissue could be observed.
Systemic bioavailability may play a role in specific SPION implant toxicity and therefore the local degradation process is a further aspect to be assessed in future studies.
Video abstract
PMCID: PMC3184939  PMID: 21980242
superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles; metabolism; distribution
14.  Targeting of Primary Breast Cancers and Metastases in a Transgenic Mouse Model Using Rationally Designed Multifunctional SPIONs 
ACS Nano  2012;6(3):2591-2601.
Breast cancer remains one of the most prevalent and lethal malignancies in women. The inability to diagnose small volume metastases early has limited effective treatment of stage 4 breast cancer. Here we report the rational development and use of a multifunctional superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticle (SPION) for targeting metastatic breast cancer in a transgenic mouse model and imaging with magnetic resonance (MR). SPIONs coated with a copolymer of chitosan and polyethylene glycol (PEG) were labeled with a fluorescent dye for optical detection and conjugated with a monoclonal antibody against the neu receptor (NP-neu). SPIONs labeled with mouse IgG were used as a non-targeting control (NP-IgG). These SPIONs had desirable physiochemical properties for in vivo applications such as near neutral zeta potential and hydrodynamic size around 40 nm, and were highly stable in serum containing medium. Only NP-neu showed high uptake in neu expressing mouse mammary carcinoma (MMC) cells which was reversed by competing free neu antibody, indicating their specificity to the neu antigen. In vivo, NP-neu was able to tag primary breast tumors and significantly, only NP-neu bound to spontaneous liver, lung, and bone marrow metastases in a transgenic mouse model of metastatic breast cancer, highlighting the necessity of targeting for delivery to metastatic disease. The SPIONs provided significant contrast enhancement in MR images of primary breast tumors; thus, they have the potential for MRI detection of micrometastases, and provide an excellent platform for further development of an efficient metastatic breast cancer therapy.
PMCID: PMC3397248  PMID: 22324543
iron oxide; nanoparticle; genetically engineered mouse model; HER2/neu; theranostics; breast cancer; metastases
15.  Superparamagnetic iron oxide-C595: Potential MR imaging contrast agents for ovarian cancer detection 
Superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles (SPIONs), have played an important role in the promotion of image contrast in magnetic resonance imaging modality. The objective of present study is describing SPIONs conjugated with C595 monoclonal antibody (mAb) against MUC1-expressing ovarian cancer (OVCAR3) cell. Magnetic resonance imaging parameters of the prepared nanoconjugate was investigated in vitro: characterization, cell toxicity, flow cytometry, Prussian blue staining, and cellular uptake as well as biodistribution and magnetic resonance signal intensities under in vivo conditions were also investigated. Magnetic resonance imaging and biodistribution results showed good tumor accumulation and detection, no cytotoxicity, and potential selective as anti-ovarian cancer. In conclusion, based on the findings SPIONs-C595 nanosized-probe is potentially, a selective ovarian molecular imaging tool. Further subsequent in vivo studies and clinical trials are warranted.
PMCID: PMC3959000  PMID: 24672155
Flow cytometry; magnetic nanoparticles; magnetic resonance imaging; OVCAR3
16.  Cellular interaction of folic acid conjugated superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles and its use as contrast agent for targeted magnetic imaging of tumor cells 
The purpose of the study was to develop tumor specific, water dispersible superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles (SPIONs) and evaluate their efficacy as a contrast agent in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). We have developed SPIONs capped with citric acid/2-bromo-2-methylpropionic acid which are compact, water dispersible, biocompatible having narrow range of size dispersity (8–10 nm), and relatively high T2 relaxivity (R2 = 222L · mmol−1 · sec−l). The targeting efficacy of unconjugated and folic acid-conjugated SPIONs (FA-SPIONS) was evaluated in a folic acid receptor overexpressing and negative tumor cell lines. Folic acid receptor-positive cells incubated with FA-SPIONs showed much higher intracellular iron content without any cytotoxicity. Ultrastructurally, SPIONs were seen as clustered inside the various stages of endocytic pathways without damaging cellular organelles and possible mechanism for their entry is via receptor mediated endocytosis. In vitro MRI studies on tumor cells showed better T2-weighted images in FA-SPIONs. These findings indicate that FA-SPIONs possess high colloidal stability with excellent sensitivity of imaging and can be a useful MRI contrast agent for the detection of cancer.
PMCID: PMC3405889  PMID: 22848174
superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles (SPION); cellular internalization; magnetic resonance imaging (MRI); cancer-cell targeting ligand
17.  Simple SPION Incubation as an Efficient Intracellular Labeling Method for Tracking Neural Progenitor Cells Using MRI 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(2):e56125.
Cellular magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) has been well-established for tracking neural progenitor cells (NPC). Superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles (SPIONs) approved for clinical application are the most common agents used for labeling. Conventionally, transfection agents (TAs) were added with SPIONs to facilitate cell labeling because SPIONs in the native unmodified form were deemed inefficient for intracellular labeling. However, compelling evidence also shows that simple SPION incubation is not invariably ineffective. The labeling efficiency can be improved by prolonged incubation and elevated iron doses. The goal of the present study was to establish simple SPION incubation as an efficient intracellular labeling method. To this end, NPCs derived from the neonatal subventricular zone were incubated with SPIONs (Feridex®) and then evaluated in vitro with regard to the labeling efficiency and biological functions. The results showed that, following 48 hours of incubation at 75 µg/ml, nearly all NPCs exhibited visible SPION intake. Evidence from light microscopy, electron microscopy, chemical analysis, and magnetic resonance imaging confirmed the effectiveness of the labeling. Additionally, biological assays showed that the labeled NPCs exhibited unaffected viability, oxidative stress, apoptosis and differentiation. In the demonstrated in vivo cellular MRI experiment, the hypointensities representing the SPION labeled NPCs remained observable throughout the entire tracking period. The findings indicate that simple SPION incubation without the addition of TAs is an efficient intracellular magnetic labeling method. This simple approach may be considered as an alternative approach to the mainstream labeling method that involves the use of TAs.
PMCID: PMC3585319  PMID: 23468856
18.  Magnetically retainable microparticles for drug delivery to the joint: efficacy studies in an antigen-induced arthritis model in mice 
Conventional corticosteroid suspensions for the intra-articular treatment of arthritis suffer from limitations such as crystal formation or rapid clearance from the joint. The purpose of this study was to investigate an innovative alternative consisting of corticosteroid encapsulation into magnetically retainable microparticles.
Microparticles (1 or 10 μm) containing both superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles (SPIONs) and dexamethasone 21-acetate (DXM) were prepared. In a preliminary study, we compared the persistence of microparticles of both sizes in the joint. A second study evaluated the influence of a subcutaneously implanted magnet near the knee on the retention of magnetic microparticles in the joint by in vivo imaging. Finally, the efficacy of 10-μm microparticles was investigated using a model of antigen-induced arthritis (AIA) in mice. Phosphate-buffered saline, DXM suspension, SPION suspension, blank microparticles and microparticles containing only SPIONs were used as controls. Arthritis severity was assessed using 99mTc accumulation and histological scoring.
Due to their capacity of encapsulating more corticosteroid and their increased joint retention, the 10-μm microparticles were more suitable vectors than the 1-μm microparticles for corticosteroid delivery to the joint. The presence of a magnet resulted in higher magnetic retention in the joint, as demonstrated by a higher fluorescence signal. The therapeutic efficacy in AIA of 10-μm microparticles containing DXM and SPIONs was similar to that of the DXM suspension, proving that the bioactive agent is released. Moreover, the anti-inflammatory effect of DXM-containing microparticles was more important than that of blank microparticles or microparticles containing only SPIONs. The presence of a magnet did not induce a greater inflammatory reaction.
This study confirms the effectiveness of an innovative approach of using magnetically retainable microparticles as intra-articular drug delivery systems. A major advantage comes from a versatile polymer matrix, which allows the encapsulation of many classes of therapeutic agents (for example, p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase inhibitors), which may reduce systemic side effects.
PMCID: PMC2714118  PMID: 19454011
19.  Folate-targeted polymeric micelles loaded with ultrasmall superparamagnetic iron oxide: combined small size and high MRI sensitivity 
Targeted delivery of contrast agents is a highly desirable strategy for enhancing diagnostic efficiency and reducing side effects and toxicity. Water-soluble and tumor-targeting superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles (SPIONs) were synthesized by loading hydrophobic SPIONs into micelles assembled from an amphiphilic block copolymer poly(ethylene glycol)- poly(ɛ-caprolactone) (PEG-PCL) bearing folate in the distal ends of PEG chains. Compared to the water-soluble SPIONs obtained by small molecular surfactant coating, ultrasmall SPION encapsulation with PEG-PCL micelles (PEG-PCL-SPIONs) simultaneously increases transverse (r2) and decreases longitudinal (r1) magnetic resonance (MR) relaxivities of water proton in micelle solution, leading to a notably high r2/r1 ratio up to 78, which makes the PEG-PCL-SPIONs a highly sensitive MR imaging (MRI) T2 contrast agent. The mean size of folate-attached SPION micelles (Fa-PEG-PCL-SPIONs) is 44 ± 3 nm on average, ideal for in vivo MRI applications in which long circulation is greatly determined by small particle size and is highly desirable. Prussian blue staining of BEL-7402 cells over-expressing folate receptors, after incubation with micelle-containing medium, demonstrated that folate functionalization of the magnetic particles significantly enhanced their cell uptake. The potential of Fa-PEG-PCL-SPIONs as a potent MRI probe for in vivo tumor detection was assessed. At 3 hours after intravenous injection of the Fa-PEG-PCL-SPION solution into mice bearing subcutaneous xenografts of human BEL-7402 hepatoma, a 41.2% signal intensity decrease was detected in the T2-weighted MR images of the tumor, indicating the efficient accumulation of Fa-PEG-PCL-SPIONs in the tumor tissue.
PMCID: PMC3383322  PMID: 22745549
tumor targeting; magnetic resonance imaging; polymeric micelles; superparamagnetic iron oxide
20.  Compact Zwitterion-Coated Iron Oxide Nanoparticles for Biological Applications 
Nano Letters  2011;12(1):22-25.
The potential of superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles (SPIONs) in various biomedical applications, including magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), sensing, and drug delivery, requires that their surface be derivatized to be hydrophilic and biocompatible. We report here the design and synthesis of a compact and water-soluble zwitterionic dopamine sulfonate (ZDS) ligand with strong binding affinity to SPIONs. After ligand exchange, the ZDS coated SPIONs exhibit small hydrodynamic diameters (HD), and stability with respect to time, pH, and salinity. Furthermore, small ZDS coated SPIONs were found to have a reduced non-specific affinity (compared to negatively charged SPIONs) towards serum proteins; streptavidin/dye functionalized SPIONs were bioactive and thus specifically targeted biotin receptors.
PMCID: PMC3278278  PMID: 22185195
superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles; zwitterionic dopamine sulfonate; hydrodynamic diameter; stability; serum binging test; biotin labeling
21.  Influence of the Physiochemical Properties of Superparamagnetic Iron Oxide Nanoparticles on Amyloid β Protein Fibrillation in Solution 
ACS Chemical Neuroscience  2012;4(3):475-485.
Superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles (SPIONs) are recognized as promising nanodiagnostic materials due to their biocompatibility, unique magnetic properties, and their application as multimodal contrast agents. As coated SPIONs have potential use in the diagnosis and treatment of various brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s, a comprehensive understanding of their interactions with Aβ and other amyloidogenic proteins is essential prior to their clinical application. Here we demonstrate the effect of thickness and surface charge of the coating layer of SPIONs on the kinetics of fibrillation of Aβ in aqueous solution. A size and surface area dependent “dual” effect on Aβ fibrillation was observed. While lower concentrations of SPIONs inhibited fibrillation, higher concentrations increased the rate of Aβ fibrillation. With respect to coating charge, it is evident that the positively charged SPIONs are capable of promoting fibrillation at significantly lower particle concentrations compared with negatively charged or uncharged SPIONs. This suggests that in addition to the presence of particles, which affect the concentration of monomeric protein in solution (and thereby the nucleation time), there are also effects of binding on the protein conformation.
PMCID: PMC3605812  PMID: 23509983
Superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles; Alzheimer’s disease; amyloid beta; fibrillation; protein conformation
22.  Development of an MRI-visible nonviral vector for siRNA delivery targeting gastric cancer 
An antibody-directed nonviral vector, polyethylene glycol-grafted polyethylenimine functionalized with superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles and a gastric cancer-associated CD44v6 single-chain variable fragment (scFvCD44v6,-PEG-g-PEI-SPION), was constructed as a gastric cancer-targeting and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)-visible nanocarrier for small interfering RNA (siRNA) delivery. Biophysical characterization of PEG-g-PEI-SPION and scFvCD44v6-PEG-g-PEI-SPION was carried out, including siRNA condensation capacity, cell viability, and transfection efficiency. Both the targeting and nontargeting nanocarriers were effective for transferring siRNA in vitro. The cellular uptake and distribution of nanoparticles complexed with siRNA was analyzed by fluorescence imaging and immunofluorescent staining. Moreover, the gastric cancer-targeting effect was verified in vivo by MRI and histology analysis. These results indicate that scFvCD44v6-PEG-g-PEI-SPION is a promising nonviral vector for gastric cancer gene therapy and diagnosis.
PMCID: PMC3405872  PMID: 22848158
tumor targeting; CD44 variant 6; nonviral vector; small interfering RNA; magnetic resonance imaging
23.  Self-Assembled Magnetic Filter for Highly Efficient Immunomagnetic Separation 
Lab on a chip  2010;11(1):147-151.
We have developed a compact and inexpensive microfluidic chip, the Self Assembled Magnetic filter, to efficiently remove magnetically tagged cells from suspension. The self-assembled magnetic filter consists of a microfluidic channel built directly above a self-assembled NdFeB magnet. Micrometer-sized grains of NdFeB assemble to form alternating magnetic dipoles, creating a magnetic field with a very strong magnitude B (from the material) and field gradient ∇B (from the configuration) in the microfluidic channel. The magnetic force imparted on magnetic beads is measured to be comparable to state-of-the-art microfabricated magnets, allowing for efficient separations to be performed in a compact, simple device. The efficiency of the magnetic filter is characterized by sorting non-magnetic (polystyrene) beads from magnetic beads (iron oxide). The filter enriches the population of non-magnetic beads to magnetic beads by a factor of >105 with a recovery rate of 90% at 1 mL/hr. The utility of the magnetic filter is demonstrated with a microfluidic device that sorts tumor cells from leukocytes using negative immunomagnetic selection, and concentrates the tumor cells on an integrated membrane filter for optical detection.
PMCID: PMC3005961  PMID: 20949198
24.  Synthesis of magnetic nanofibers using femtosecond laser material processing in air 
Nanoscale Research Letters  2011;6(1):375.
In this study, we report formation of weblike fibrous nanostructure and nanoparticles of magnetic neodymium-iron-boron (NdFeB) via femtosecond laser radiation at MHz pulse repetition frequency in air at atmospheric pressure. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) analysis revealed that the nanostructure is formed due to aggregation of polycrystalline nanoparticles of the respective constituent materials. The nanofibers diameter varies between 30 and 70 nm and they are mixed with nanoparticles. The effect of pulse to pulse separation rate on the size of the magnetic fibrous structure and the magnetic strength was reported. X-ray diffraction (XRD) analysis revealed metallic and oxide phases in the nanostructure. The growth of magnetic nanostructure is highly recommended for the applications of magnetic devices like biosensors and the results suggest that the pulsed-laser method is a promising technique for growing nanocrystalline magnetic nanofibers and nanoparticles for biomedical applications.
PMCID: PMC3211468  PMID: 21711890
25.  Biodistribution of newly synthesized PHEA-based polymer-coated SPION in Sprague Dawley rats as magnetic resonance contrast agent 
The purpose of this study was to observe the pharmacokinetic behavior of newly synthesized biocompatible polymers based on polyhydroxyethylaspartamide (PHEA) to be used to coat an iron oxide core to make superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles (SPION).
Materials and methods
The isotopes [14C] and [59Fe] were used to label the polymer backbone (CLS) and iron oxide core (FLS), respectively. In addition, unradiolabeled cold superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles (SPION/ULS) were synthesized to characterize particle size by dynamic light scattering, morphology by transmission electron microscopy, and in vivo magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). CLS and FLS were used separately to investigate the behavior of both the synthesized polymer and [Fe] in Sprague Dawley (SD) rats, respectively. Because radioactivity of the isotopes was different by β for CLS and γ for FLS, synthesis of the samples had to be separately prepared.
The mean particle size of the ULS was 66.1 nm, and the biodistribution of CLS concentrations in various organs, in rank order of magnitude, was liver > kidney > small intestine > other. The biodistribution of FLS concentrations was liver > spleen > lung > other. These rank orders show that synthesized SPION mainly accumulates in the liver. The differences in the distribution were caused by the SPION metabolism. Radiolabeled polymer was metabolized by the kidney and excreted mainly in the urine; [59Fe] was recycled for erythrocyte production in the spleen and excreted mainly in the feces. The MR image of the liver after intravenous injection demonstrated that [Fe] effectively accumulated in the liver and exhibited high-contrast enhancement on T2-weighted images.
This newly synthesized, polymer-coated SPION appears to be a promising candidate for use as a liver-targeted, biocompatible iron oxide MR imaging agent.
PMCID: PMC3817023  PMID: 24204138
SPION; radiolabeled; polyhydroxyethylaspartamide; pharmacokinetic; liver

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