geographic co-distribution; influenza; subtypes; H7N9; H5N1; humans; China; avian influenza; influenza A; viruses; low pathogenicity; highly pathogenic
Antifouling magnetic iron oxide nanoparticles (IONPs) coated with block copolymer poly(ethylene oxide)-block-poly(γ-methacryloxypropyltrimethoxysilane) (PEO-b-PγMPS) were investigated for improving cell targeting by reducing nonspecific uptake. Conjugation of a HER2 antibody, Herceptin®, or a single chain fragment (ScFv) of antibody against epidermal growth factor receptor (ScFvEGFR) to PEO-b-PγMPS-coated IONPs resulted in HER2-targeted or EGFR-targeted IONPs (anti-HER2-IONPs or ScFvEGFR-IONPs). The anti-HER2-IONPs bound specifically to SK-BR-3, a HER2-overexpressing breast cancer cell line, but not to MDA-MB-231, a HER2-underexpressing cell line. On the other hand, the ScFvEGFR-IONPs showed strong reactivity with MDA-MB-231, an EGFR-positive human breast cancer cell line, but not with MDA-MB-453, an EGFR-negative human breast cancer cell line. Transmission electron microscopy revealed internalization of the receptor-targeted nanoparticles by the targeted cancer cells. In addition, both antibody-conjugated and non-antibody-conjugated IONPs showed reduced nonspecific uptake by RAW264.7 mouse macrophages in vitro. The developed IONPs showed a long blood circulation time (serum half-life 11.6 hours) in mice and low accumulation in both the liver and spleen. At 24 hours after systemic administration of ScFvEGFR-IONPs into mice bearing EGFR-positive breast cancer 4T1 mouse mammary tumors, magnetic resonance imaging revealed signal reduction in the tumor as a result of the accumulation of the targeted IONPs.
magnetic nanoparticles; active targeting; antifouling; breast cancer; magnetic resonance imaging
To obtain positive contrast based on T1 weighting from magnetic iron oxide nanoparticle (IONP) using ultrashort echo time (UTE) imaging and investigate quantitative relationship between positive contrast and the core size and concentration of IONPs.
Materials and Methods
Solutions of IONPs with different core sizes and concentrations were prepared. T1 and T2 relaxation times of IONPs were measured using the inversion recovery turbo spin echo (TSE) and multi-echo spin echo sequences at 3 Tesla. T1-weighted UTE gradient echo and T2-weighted TSE sequences were used to image IONP samples. U87MG glioblastoma cells bound with arginine-glycine-aspartic acid (RGD) peptide and IONP conjugates were scanned using UTE, T1 and T2-weighted sequences.
Positive contrast was obtained by UTE imaging from IONPs with different core sizes and concentrations. The relative-contrast-to-water ratio of UTE images was three to four times higher than those of T2-weighted TSE images. The signal intensity increases as the function of the core size and concentration. Positive contrast was also evident in cell samples bound with RGD-IONPs.
UTE imaging allows for imaging of IONPs and IONP bound tumor cells with positive contrast and provides contrast enhancement and potential quantification of IONPs in molecular imaging applications.
magnetic nanoparticle; magnetic resonance imaging; iron oxide; ultrashort TE; molecular Imaging
Mycoplasma pneumoniae (Mpn) is a human pathogen that causes acute and chronic respiratory diseases and has been linked to many extrapulmonary diseases. Due to the lack of cell wall, Mpn is resistant to antibiotics targeting cell wall synthesis such as penicillin. During the last 10 years macrolide-resistant Mpn strains have been frequently reported in Asian countries and have been spreading to Europe and the United States. Therefore, new antibiotics are needed. In this study, 30 FDA-approved anticancer or antiviral drugs were screened for inhibitory effects on Mpn growth and selected analogs were further characterized by inhibition of target enzymes and metabolism of radiolabeled substrates.
Sixteen drugs showed varying inhibitory effects and seven showed strong inhibition of Mpn growth. The anticancer drug 6-thioguanine had a MIC (minimum inhibitory concentration required to cause 90% of growth inhibition) value of 0.20 μg ml-1, whereas trifluorothymidine, gemcitabine and dipyridamole had MIC values of approximately 2 μg ml-1. In wild type Mpn culture the presence of 6-thioguanine and dipyridamole strongly inhibited the uptake and metabolism of hypoxanthine and guanine while gemcitabine inhibited the uptake and metabolism of all nucleobases and thymidine. Trifluorothymidine and 5-fluorodeoxyuridine, however, stimulated the uptake and incorporation of radiolabeled thymidine and this stimulation was due to induction of thymidine kinase activity. Furthermore, Mpn hypoxanthine guanine phosphoribosyl transferase (HPRT) was cloned, expressed, and characterized. The 6-thioguanine, but not other purine analogs, strongly inhibited HPRT, which may in part explain the observed growth inhibition. Trifluorothymidine and 5-fluorodeoxyuridine were shown to be good substrates and inhibitors for thymidine kinase from human and Mycoplasma sources.
We have shown that several anticancer and antiviral nucleoside and nucleobase analogs are potent inhibitors of Mpn growth and that the mechanism of inhibition are most likely due to inhibition of enzymes in the nucleotide biosynthesis pathway and nucleoside transporter. Our results suggest that enzymes in Mycoplasma nucleotide biosynthesis are potential targets for future design of antibiotics against Mycoplasma infection.
Mycoplasma pneumoniae; Growth inhibition; 6-thioguanine; Trifluorothymidine; Hypoxanthine guanine phosphoribosyl transferase; Thymidine kinase
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.
This study investigates the effect of tumor location on alterations of language network by brain tumors at different locations using blood oxygenation level dependent (BOLD) fMRI and group independent component analysis (ICA).
Subjects and Methods
BOLD fMRI data were obtained from 43 right handed brain tumor patients. Presurgical mapping of language areas was performed on all 43 patients with a picture naming task. All data were retrospectively analyzed using group ICA. Patents were divided into three groups based on tumor locations, i.e., left frontal region, left temporal region or right hemisphere. Laterality index (LI) was used to assess language lateralization in each group.
The results from BOLD fMRI and ICA revealed the different language activation patterns in patients with brain tumors located in different brain regions. Language areas, such as Broca’s and Wernicke’s areas, were intact in patients with tumors in the right hemisphere. Significant functional changes were observed in patients with tumor in the left frontal and temporal areas. More specifically, the tumors in the left frontal region affect both Broca’s and Wernicke’s areas, while tumors in the left temporal lobe affect mainly Wernicke’s area. The compensated activation increase was observed in the right frontal areas in patients with left hemisphere tumors.
Group ICA provides a model free alternative approach for mapping functional networks in brain tumor patients. Altered language activation by different tumor locations suggested reorganization of language functions in brain tumor patients and may help better understanding of the language plasticity.
Most eukaryotic genes are interrupted by spliceosomal introns. The evolution of exon-intron structure remains mysterious despite rapid advance in genome sequencing technique. In this work, a novel approach is taken based on the assumptions that the evolution of exon-intron structure is a stochastic process, and that the characteristics of this process can be understood by examining its historical outcome, the present-day size distribution of internal translated exons (exon). Through the combination of simulation and modeling the size distribution of exons in different species, we propose a general random fragmentation process (GRFP) to characterize the evolution dynamics of exon-intron structure. This model accurately predicts the probability that an exon will be split by a new intron and the distribution of novel insertions along the length of the exon.
As the first observation from this model, we show that the chance for an exon to obtain an intron is proportional to its size to the 3rd power. We also show that such size dependence is nearly constant across gene, with the exception of the exons adjacent to the 5′ UTR. As the second conclusion from the model, we show that intron insertion loci follow a normal distribution with a mean of 0.5 (center of the exon) and a standard deviation of 0.11. Finally, we show that intron insertions within a gene are independent of each other for vertebrates, but are more negatively correlated for non-vertebrate. We use simulation to demonstrate that the negative correlation might result from significant intron loss during evolution, which could be explained by selection against multi-intron genes in these organisms.
The GRFP model suggests that intron gain is dynamic with a higher chance for longer exons; introns are inserted into exons randomly with the highest probability at the center of the exon. GRFP estimates that there are 78 introns in every 10 kb coding sequences for vertebrate genomes, agreeing with empirical observations. GRFP also estimates that there are significant intron losses in the evolution of non-vertebrate genomes, with extreme cases of around 57% intron loss in Drosophila melanogaster, 28% in Caenorhabditis elegans, and 24% in Oryza sativa.
Evolution of exon-intron structure; General random fragmentation process; Simulation
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) has emerged as a leading diagnostic technique in clinical and preclinical settings. However, the application of MRI to assess specific disease markers for diagnosis and monitoring drug effect has been severely hampered by the lack of desired contrast agents with high relaxivities, and optimized in vivo retention time. We have reported the development of protein-based MRI contrast agents (ProCA1) by rational design of Gd3+ binding sites into a stable protein resulting in significantly increased longitudinal (r1) and transverse (r2) relaxivities compared to Gd-DTPA. Here, we report a further improvement of protein contrast agents ProCA1 for in vivo imaging by protein modification with various sizes of polyethylene glycol (PEG) chain. PEGylation results in significant increases of both r1 and r2 relaxivities (up to 200%), and these high relaxivities persist even at field strengths up to 9.4 T. In addition, our experimental results demonstrate that modified contrast agents have significant improvement of in vivo MR imaging and biocompatibilities including dose efficiency, protein solubility, blood retention time and decreased immunogenicity. Such improvement can be important to the animal imaging and pre-clinical research at high or ultra-high field where there is an urgent need for molecular imaging probes and optimized contrast agent.
Contrast agent; Magnet Resonance Imaging; PEGylation; Relaxivity
Visualizing distribution of infused therapeutic agents into the brain by convection-enhanced delivery (CED) is necessary to ensure accurate delivery into target sites. Recently, bioconjugated magnetic iron-oxide nanoparticles (IONPs) have been shown to produce a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) contrast in the rodent brain after CED permitting direct visualization of nanoparticle distribution and dispersion over time. We have now studied the CED of IONPs in the larger, more clinically relevant, canine brain for assessment of distribution, dispersion, toxicity, and clearance.
Eight healthy laboratory dogs were infused with either free IONPs (n=4) or cetuximab-conjugated IONPs (cetuximab-IONPs; n=4) at different infusion rates (0.5, 1.0, 3.0, and 5.0 microliters/min) and volumes (180, 300, 360, and 720 microliters). IONP CED was monitored by sequential MRIs (pre-operative, within 12 h, 5 d, 7 d, and 30 d post-operative) and volumes of distribution and dispersion were calculated from the MR images. Toxicity assessment was based on MRI, clinical examination, hematologic/cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) analysis, and brain histopathological evaluation.
Robust delivery and monitoring of IONP distribution in the grey and white matter of the canine brain was achieved by CED and MRI. Quantitative measurements of IONP distribution volumes was achieved by MRI. Distribution volumes were linearly proportional to infusion volumes and dispersion of IONPs occurred 5 d after CED. Use of the slower infusion rates allowed for more uniform initial distribution of IONPs and low infusate leakback of IONPs along the catheter track. No signs of toxicity were found in any animals that underwent IONP or cetuximab-conjugated IONP CED based on physical examination and hematologic/CSF analysis. MRI and histopathologic analysis of brains 30 d after CED revealed near complete clearance of IONPs. Uptake of IONPs by astrocytes and microglia was found adjacent to the catheter sites.
CED of either free or cetuximab-conjugated IONPs in the canine brain is safe and represents an effective delivery method in a larger animal model. MRI monitoring of distribution and dispersion of IONPs is possible and quantitative after CED. Future studies involving CED of bioconjugated IONPs in canines with spontaneous gliomas may provide a unique and more clinical relevant animal model for targeting infiltrative cancer cells responsible for tumor recurrence.
Glioblastoma; Magnetic Nanoparticles; Convection-Enhanced Delivery; MRI; EGFR; Cetuximab; Canine
The purpose of this study was to demonstrate a novel protein-based magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) contrast agent that has the capability of targeting prostate cancer and which provides high-sensitivity MR imaging in tumor cells and mouse models.
A fragment of gastrin-releasing peptide (GRP) was fused into a protein-based MRI contrast agent (ProCA1) at different regions. MR imaging was obtained in both tumor cells (PC3 and H441) and a tumor mouse model administrated with ProCA1.GRP.
PC3 and DU145 cells treated with ProCA1.GRPs exhibited enhanced signal in MRI. Intratumoral injection of ProCA1.GRP in a PC3 tumor model displayed enhanced MRI signal. The contrast agent was retained in the PC3 tumor up to 48 h post-injection.
Protein-based MRI contrast agent with tumor targeting modality can specifically target GRPR-positive prostate cancer. Intratumoral injection of the ProCA1 agent in the prostate cancer mouse model verified the targeting capability of ProCA1.GRP and showed a prolonged retention time in tumors.
MRI; Contrast agents; Prostate cancer; Molecular imaging; Relaxivity
For the treatment of low back pain, the following three scenarios of posterior lumbar interbody fusion (PLIF) were usually used, i.e., PLIF procedure with autogenous iliac bone (PAIB model), PLIF with cages made of PEEK (PCP model) or titanium (Ti) (PCT model) materiel. But the benefits or adverse effects among the three surgical scenarios were still not fully understood.
Finite element analysis (FEA), as an efficient tool for the analysis of lumbar diseases, was used to establish a three-dimensional nonlinear L1-S1 FE model (intact model) with the ligaments of solid elements. Then it was modified to simulate the three scenarios of PLIF. 10 Nm moments with 400 N preload were applied to the upper L1 vertebral body under the loading conditions of extension, flexion, lateral bending and torsion, respectively.
Different mechanical parameters were calculated to evaluate the differences among the three surgical models. The lowest stresses on the bone grafts and the greatest stresses on endplate were found in the PCT model. The PCP model obtained considerable stresses on the bone grafts and less stresses on ligaments. But the changes of stresses on the adjacent discs and endplate were minimal in the PAIB model.
The PCT model was inferior to the other two models. Both the PCP and PAIB models had their own relative merits. The findings provide theoretical basis for the choice of a suitable surgical scenario for different patients.
Spine; Cage; PEEK; Autogenous iliac bone; Ligaments
To identify interactions a nucleoside analog library (NAL) consisting of 45 FDA-approved nucleoside analogs was screened against 23 enzymes of the human nucleotide metabolism using a thermal shift assay. The method was validated with deoxycytidine kinase; eight interactions known from the literature were detected and five additional interactions were revealed after the addition of ATP, the second substrate. The NAL screening gave relatively few significant hits, supporting a low rate of “off target effects.” However, unexpected ligands were identified for two catabolic enzymes guanine deaminase (GDA) and uridine phosphorylase 1 (UPP1). An acyclic guanosine prodrug analog, valaciclovir, was shown to stabilize GDA to the same degree as the natural substrate, guanine, with a ΔTagg around 7°C. Aciclovir, penciclovir, ganciclovir, thioguanine and mercaptopurine were also identified as ligands for GDA. The crystal structure of GDA with valaciclovir bound in the active site was determined, revealing the binding of the long unbranched chain of valaciclovir in the active site of the enzyme. Several ligands were identified for UPP1: vidarabine, an antiviral nucleoside analog, as well as trifluridine, idoxuridine, floxuridine, zidovudine, telbivudine, fluorouracil and thioguanine caused concentration-dependent stabilization of UPP1. A kinetic study of UPP1 with vidarabine revealed that vidarabine was a mixed-type competitive inhibitor with the natural substrate uridine. The unexpected ligands identified for UPP1 and GDA imply further metabolic consequences for these nucleoside analogs, which could also serve as a starting point for future drug design.
White matter hyperintensities (WMHs) are a risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease (AD). This study investigated the relationship between WMHs and white matter changes in AD using diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) and the sensitivity of each DTI index in distinguishing AD with WMHs.
Subjects and Methods
Forty-four subjects with WMHs were included. Subjects were classified into three groups based on the Scheltens rating scale: 15 AD patients with mild WMHs, 12 AD patients with severe WMHs, and 17 controls with mild WMHs. Fractional anisotropy (FA), mean diffusivity (MD), radial diffusivity (DR) and axial diffusivity (DA) were analyzed using the region of interest and Tract-Based Spatial Statistics methods. Sensitivity and specificity of DTI indices in distinguishing AD groups from the controls were evaluated.
AD patients with mild WMHs exhibited differences from control subjects in most DTI indices in the medial temporal and frontal areas; however, differences in DTI indices from AD patients with mild WMHs and AD patients with severe WMHs were found in the parietal and occipital areas. FA and DR were more sensitive measurements than MD and DA in differentiating AD patients from controls, while MD was a more sensitive measurement in distinguishing AD patients with severe WMHs from those with mild WMHs.
WMHs may contribute to the white matter changes in AD brains, specifically in temporal and frontal areas. Changes in parietal and occipital lobes may be related to the severity of WMHs. DR may serve as an imaging marker of myelin deficits associated with AD.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging; White Matter Hyperintensity; Diffusion Tensor; Alzheimer’s Disease; Diffusivity; White Matter
Engineering and functionalizing magnetic nanoparticles have been an area of the extensive research and development in the biomedical and nanomedicine fields. Because their biocompatibility and toxicity are well investigated and better understood, magnetic nanoparticles, especially iron oxide nanoparticles, are better suited materials as contrast agents for magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and for image-directed delivery of therapeutics. Given tunable magnetic properties and various surface chemistries from the coating materials, most applications of engineered magnetic nanoparticles take advantages of their superb MRI contrast enhancing capability as well as surface functionalities. It has been found that MRI contrast enhancement by magnetic nanoparticles is highly dependent on the composition, size and surface properties as well as the degree of aggregation of the nanoparticles. Therefore, understanding the relationships between these intrinsic parameters and the relaxivities that contribute to MRI contrast can lead to establishing essential guidance that may direct the design of engineered magnetic nanoparticles for theranostics applications. On the other hand, new contrast mechanism and imaging strategy can be developed based on the novel properties of engineered magnetic nanoparticles. This review will focus on discussing the recent findings on some chemical and physical properties of engineered magnetic nanoparticles affecting the relaxivities as well as the impact on MRI contrast. Furthermore, MRI methods for imaging magnetic nanoparticles including several newly developed MRI approaches aiming at improving the detection and quantification of the engineered magnetic nanoparticles are described.
magnetic nanoparticles; engineering; functionalizing; magnetic resonance imaging
Mitochondrial thymidine kinase 2 (TK2) is a key enzyme in the salvage of pyrimidine deoxynucleosides needed for mitochondrial DNA synthesis. TK2 phosphorylates thymidine (dThd), deoxycytidine (dCyd), and many other antiviral pyrimidine nucleoside analogs. Zidovudine (AZT) is the first nucleoside analog approved for anti-HIV therapy, and it is still used in combination with other drugs. One of the side effects of long-term treatment with nucleoside analogs is mitochondrial DNA depletion, which has been ascribed to competition by AZT for the endogenous dThd phosphorylation carried out by TK2. Here we studied the kinetics of AZT and 3′-fluorothymidine phosphorylation by recombinant human TK2 and the effects of these and other pyrimidine nucleoside analogs on the phosphorylation of dThd and dCyd. Thymidine analogs strongly inhibited dThd phosphorylation but not dCyd phosphorylation, which instead was stimulated ∼30%. We found that recombinant human TK2 contained the feedback inhibitor dTTP in a 1:1 molar ratio and that incubation with dThd and AZT could completely remove the enzyme-bound dTTP, but dCyd was less efficient in this regard. The release of feedback inhibitor by dThd and dThd analogs most likely accounts for the observed kinetics. Similar effects were also observed with native rat liver mitochondrial TK2, strongly indicating a physiologic role for this process, which most likely is an important factor in the mitochondrial toxicity observed with antiviral nucleoside analogs.
The magnetic nanoparticle has emerged as a potential multifunctional clinical tool that can provide cancer cell detection by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) contrast enhancement as well as targeted cancer cell therapy. A major barrier in the use of nanotechnology for brain tumor applications is the difficulty in delivering nanoparticles to intracranial tumors. Iron oxide nanoparticles (IONPs; 10 nm in core size) conjugated to a purified antibody that selectively binds to the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) deletion mutant (EGFRvIII) present on human glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) cells, were used for therapeutic targeting and MRI contrast enhancement of experimental glioblastoma both in vitro and in vivo after convection-enhanced delivery (CED). A significant decrease in glioblastoma cell survival was observed after nanoparticle treatment and no toxicity was observed with treatment of human astrocytes (P<0.001). Lower EGFR phosphorylation was found in glioblastoma cells after EGFRvIIIAb-IONP treatment. Apoptosis was determined to be the mode of cell death after treatment of GBM cells and glioblastoma stem cell (GSC)-containing neurospheres with EGFRvIIIAb-IONPs. MRI-guided CED of EGFRvIIIAb-IONPs allowed for the initial distribution of magnetic nanoparticles within or adjacent to intracranial human xenograft tumors and continued dispersion days later. A significant increase in animal survival was found after CED of magnetic nanoparticles (P<0.01) in mice implanted with highly tumorigenic glioblastoma xenografts (U87ΔEGFRvIII). IONPs conjugated to an antibody specific to the EGFRvIII deletion mutant constitutively expressed by human glioblastoma tumors can provide selective MRI contrast enhancement of tumor cells and targeted therapy of infiltrative glioblastoma cells after CED.
Glioblastoma; Magnetic Nanoparticles; Convection-Enhanced Delivery; MRI; EGFR
One of the major limitations impeding the sensitivity and specificity of biomarker targeted nanoparticles is non-specific binding by biomolecules and uptake by the reticuloendothelial system (RES). We report the development of an antibiofouling polysiloxane containing amphiphilic diblock copolymer, poly(ethylene oxide)-block-poly(γ-methacryloxypropyltrimethoxysilane) (PEO-b-PγMPS), for coating and functionalizing high quality hydrophobic nanocrystals such as iron oxide nanoparticles and quantum dots. These PEO-b-PγMPS coated nanocrystals were colloidally stable in biological medium and showed low non-specific binding by macromolecules after incubation with 100% fetal bovine serum. Both in vitro experiments with macrophages and in vivo biodistribution studies in mice revealed that PEO-b-PγMPS copolymer coated nanocrystals have an antibiofouling effect that reduces non-specific cell and RES uptake. Surface functionalization with amine groups was accomplished through co-crosslinking the polysiloxane coating layer and (3-Aminopropyl) trimethoxysilane in aqueous solution. Tumor integrin αvβ3 targeting peptide cyclo-RGD ligands were conjugated on the nanoparticles through a heterobifunctional linker. The resulting integrin αvβ3 targeting nanoparticle conjugates showed improved cancer cell targeting with a stronger affinity to U87MG glioma cells, which have a high expression of αvβ3 integrins, but minimal binding to MCF-7 (low expression of αvβ3 integrins).
Nanoparticles; Copolymer; Antifouling; Non-specific binding; Reticuloendothelial system; Cancer targeting
The application of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to non-invasively assess disease biomarkers has been hampered by the lack of desired contrast agents with high relaxivity, targeting capability, and optimized pharmacokinetics. We have developed a novel MR imaging probe targeting to HER2, a biomarker for various cancer types and a drug target for anti-cancer therapies. This multimodal HER20targeted MR imaging probe integrates a de novo designed protein contrast agent with a high affinity HER2 affibody and a near IR fluorescent dye. Our probe can differentially monitor tumors with different expression levels of HER2 in both human cell lines and xenograft mice models. In addition to its 100-fold higher dose efficiency compared to clinically approved non-targeting contrast agent DTPA, our developed agent also exhibits advantages in crossing the endothelial boundary, tissue distribution, and tumor tissue retention over reported contrast agents as demonstrated by even distribution of the imaging probe across the entire tumor mass. This contrast agent will provide a powerful tool for quantitative assessment of molecular markers, and improved resolution for diagnosis, prognosis and drug discovery.
The iPlant Collaborative (iPlant) is a United States National Science Foundation (NSF) funded project that aims to create an innovative, comprehensive, and foundational cyberinfrastructure in support of plant biology research (PSCIC, 2006). iPlant is developing cyberinfrastructure that uniquely enables scientists throughout the diverse fields that comprise plant biology to address Grand Challenges in new ways, to stimulate and facilitate cross-disciplinary research, to promote biology and computer science research interactions, and to train the next generation of scientists on the use of cyberinfrastructure in research and education. Meeting humanity's projected demands for agricultural and forest products and the expectation that natural ecosystems be managed sustainably will require synergies from the application of information technologies. The iPlant cyberinfrastructure design is based on an unprecedented period of research community input, and leverages developments in high-performance computing, data storage, and cyberinfrastructure for the physical sciences. iPlant is an open-source project with application programming interfaces that allow the community to extend the infrastructure to meet its needs. iPlant is sponsoring community-driven workshops addressing specific scientific questions via analysis tool integration and hypothesis testing. These workshops teach researchers how to add bioinformatics tools and/or datasets into the iPlant cyberinfrastructure enabling plant scientists to perform complex analyses on large datasets without the need to master the command-line or high-performance computational services.
cyberinfrastructure; bioinformatics; plant biology; computational biology
Radiation therapy is an effective cancer treatment option in conjunction with chemotherapy and surgery. Emerging individualized internal and systemic radiation treatment promises significant improvement in efficacy and reduction of normal tissue damage; however, it requires cancer cell targeting platforms for efficient delivery of radiation sources. With recent advances in nanoscience and nanotechnology, there is great interest in developing nanomaterials as multifunctional carriers to deliver therapeutic radioisotopes for tumor targeted radiation therapy, to monitor their delivery and tumor response to the treatment. This paper provides an overview on developing nanoparticles for carrying and delivering therapeutic radioisotopes for systemic radiation treatment. Topics discussed in the review include: selecting nanoparticles and radiotherapy isotopes, strategies for targeting nanoparticles to cancers, together with challenges and potential solutions for the in vivo delivery of nanoparticles. Some examples of using nanoparticle platforms for the delivery of therapeutic radioisotopes in preclinical studies of cancer treatment are also presented.
cancer; radiation therapy; nanoparticle; radioisotope; delivery
Reporter gene–based magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) offers unique insights into behavior of cells after transplantation, which could significantly benefit stem cell research and translation. Several candidate MRI reporter genes, including one that encodes for iron storage protein ferritin, have been reported, and their potential applications in embryonic stem (ES) cell research have yet to be explored. We have established transgenic mouse ES (mES) cell lines carrying human ferritin heavy chain (FTH) as a reporter gene and succeeded in monitoring the cell grafts in vivo using T2-weighted MRI sequences. FTH generated MRI contrast through compensatory upregulation of transferrin receptor (Tfrc) that led to increased cellular iron stored in ferritin-bound form. At a level sufficient for MRI contrast, expression of FTH posed no toxicity to mES cells and did not interfere with stem cell pluripotency as observed in neural differentiation and teratoma formation. The compatibility and functionality of ferritin as a reporter in mES cells opens up the possibility of using MRI for longitudinal noninvasive monitoring of ES cell–derived cell grafts at both molecular and cellular levels.
The protein-coding regions (coding exons) of a DNA sequence exhibit a triplet periodicity (TP) due to fact that coding exons contain a series of three nucleotide codons that encode specific amino acid residues. Such periodicity is usually not observed in introns and intergenic regions. If a DNA sequence is divided into small segments and a Fourier Transform is applied on each segment, a strong peak at frequency 1/3 is typically observed in the Fourier spectrum of coding segments, but not in non-coding regions. This property has been used in identifying the locations of protein-coding genes in unannotated sequence. The method is fast and requires no training. However, the need to compute the Fourier Transform across a segment (window) of arbitrary size affects the accuracy with which one can localize TP boundaries. Here, we report a technique that provides higher-resolution identification of these boundaries, and use the technique to explore the biological correlates of TP regions in the genome of the model organism C. elegans.
Using both simulated TP signals and the real C. elegans sequence F56F11 as an example, we demonstrate that, (1) Modified Wavelet Transform (MWT) can better define the boundary of TP region than the conventional Short Time Fourier Transform (STFT); (2) The scale parameter (a) of MWT determines the precision of TP boundary localization: bigger values of a give sharper TP boundaries but result in a lower signal to noise ratio; (3) RNA splicing sites have weaker TP signals than coding region; (4) TP signals in coding region can be destroyed or recovered by frame-shift mutations; (5) 6 bp periodicities in introns and intergenic region can generate false positive signals and it can be removed with 6 bp MWT.
MWT can provide more precise TP boundaries than STFT and the boundaries can be further refined by bigger scale MWT. Subtraction of 6 bp periodicity signals reduces the number of false positives. Experimentally-introduced frame-shift mutations help recover TP signal that have been lost by possible ancient frame-shifts. More importantly, TP signal has the potential to be used to detect the splice junctions in fully spliced mRNA sequence.
We report a biocompatible polysiloxane containing amphiphilic diblock copolymer, poly(ethylene oxide)-block-poly(γ-methacryloxypropyltrimethoxysilane) (PEO-b-PγMPS), for coating and stabilizing nanoparticles for biomedical applications. Such amphiphilic diblock copolymer which comprises both a hydrophobic segment with “surface anchoring moiety” (silane group) and a hydrophilic segment with PEO (Mn=5000 g/mol) was obtained by the reversible addition fragmentation chain transfer (RAFT) polymerization using the PEO macromolecular chain transfer agent. When used for coating paramagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles (IONPs), copolymers were mixed with hydrophobic oleic acid coated core size uniformed IONPs (D=13 nm) in co-solvent tetrahydrofuran. After being aged over a period of time, resulting monodispersed IONPs can be transferred into aqueous medium. With proper PγMPS block length (Mn=10,000 g/mol), polysiloxane containing diblock copolymers formed a thin layer of coating (~3 nm) around monocrystalline nanoparticles as measured by transmission electron microscopy (TEM). Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) experiments showed excellent T2 weighted contrast effect from coated IONPs with a transverse relaxivity r2=98.6 mM−1s−1 (at 1.5 Tesla). Such thin coating layer has little effect on the relaxivity when compared to that of IONPs coated with conventional amphiphilic copolymer. Polysiloxane containing diblock copolymer coated IONPs are stable without aggregation or binding to proteins in serum when incubated for 24 h in culture medium containing 10% serum. Furthermore, much lower level of intracellular uptake by macrophage cells was observed with polysiloxane containing diblock copolymers coated IONPs, suggesting the reduction of non-specific cell uptakes and antibiofouling effect.
diblock copolymer; silanes; coating; nanoparticle; magnetic resonance imaging
Background and Purpose
Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is a risk factor for Alzheimer's disease (AD) and can be difficult to diagnose due to the subtlety of symptoms. This work attempted to examine gray and white matter changes with cortical thickness analysis and diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) in MCI patients and demographically-matched comparison subjects in order to test these measurements as possible imaging markers for diagnosis.
Materials and Methods
Subjects with amnestic MCI (n=10; age 72.2±7.1) and normal cognition (n=10; age 70.1±7.7) underwent DTI and T1 weighted MRI at 3T. Fractional anisotropy, apparent diffusion coefficient and cortical thickness were measured and compared between MCI and control groups. The diagnostic accuracy of two methods, either in combination or separately, was evaluated using binary logistic regression and nonparametric statistical analyses for sensitivity, specificity and accuracy.
Decreased FA and increased ADC in white matter regions of frontal and temporal lobes and corpus callosum were observed in MCI patients. Cortical thickness was decreased in gray matter regions of the frontal, temporal, parietal lobes in MCI patients. Changes in white matter and cortical thickness appeared to be more pronounced in the left hemisphere than in the right hemisphere. Furthermore the combination of cortical thickness and DTI measurements in left temporal areas improved the accuracy of differentiating MCI patients from controls compared to either measure alone.
DTI and cortical thickness analyses may both serve imaging markers for differentiating MCI from normal aging. Combined use of two methods may improve the accuracy of MCI diagnosis.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging; Cortical Thickness; Diffusion Tensor; Mild Cognitive Impairment; White Matter; Gray Matter; Alzheimer's Disease
White matter (WM) integrity in the medial temporal lobes and episodic memory performance was examined in patients with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and age-matched cognitively intact controls. Material specific associations between WM in the left versus right hemisphere and verbal versus visual memory performance were examined as well. Fourteen right-handed amnestic MCI patients underwent diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) and received verbal (words, story) and visual (designs) memory tests. Delayed verbal memory was significantly correlated with loss of WM integrity in the medial temporal lobe. This finding was associated with both the left and right temporal regions. Immediate visual memory performance was significantly correlated with the loss of WM integrity in the left temporal region. The results indicate that WM integrity in the medial temporal lobe is associated with objective memory functioning in MCI. However, strong material specific relationships were not observed, possibly reflecting diverse encoding strategies used by participants such as imagery of verbal material and verbal encoding of designs.
Mild Cognitive Impairment; Memory; Diffusion Tensor; White Matter; Magnetic Resonance Imaging