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Exploring of SPION-based MRI contrast agents which with excellent water-dispersibility and high specificity to cancer cells

Exploring of SPION-based MRI contrast agents which with excellent water-dispersibility and high specificity to cancer cells


Abstract 

Advances in contrast agents have greatly enhanced the sensitivity of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)technique for early diagnosis of cancer. However, the commercial superparamagnetic iron oxide nanopar-ticles (SPION)-based contrast agents synthesized by co-precipitation method are not monodisperse withirregular morphologies and ununiform sizes. Other reported SPION-based contrast agents synthesizedby solvothermal method or thermal decomposition method are limited by the bad water-dispersibilityand low specificity to cancer cells. Herein, we propose a new strategy for exploring SPION-based MRIcontrast agents with excellent water-dispersibility and high specificity to cancer cells. The SPION wassynthesized by a polyol method and then entrapped into albumin nanospheres (AN). After that, a ligandfolic acid (FA) was conjugated onto the surface of the AN to construct a SPION-AN-FA composite. Thetransmission electron microscope (TEM) and dynamic light scattering (DLS) results indicate that theSPION-AN-FA has a spherical shape, a uniform size and an excellent water-dispersibility (polydisper-sity index (PDI) 0.05). The results of laser scanning confocal microscope (LSCM) and flow cytometrydemonstrate that the SPION-AN-FA nanoparticles are highly specific to MCF-7 and SPC-A-1 cells due tothe recognition of ligand FA and folate receptor (FR ). The r2/r1value of SPION-AN-FA is around 40,which is much higher than that of Resovist®indicating that our SPION-AN-FA has a stronger T2shorten-ing effect. The T2-weighted images of MCF-7 cells incubated with SPION-AN-FA are significantly darkerthan those of MCF-7 cells incubated with AN, indicating that our SPION-AN-FA has a strong MR imagingefficacy. In view of the excellent water-dispersibility, the high specificity to cancer cells and the strongMR imaging efficacy, our SPION-AN-FA can be used as a negative MR contrast agent.

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