We have previously shown that gadolinium oxide (Gd(2)O(3)) nanoparticles are promising candidates to be used as contrast agents in magnetic resonance (MR) imaging applications. In this study, these nanoparticles were investigated in a cellular system, as possible probes for visualization and targeting intended for bioimaging applications. We evaluated the impact of the presence of Gd(2)O(3) nanoparticles on the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) from human neutrophils, by means of luminol-dependent chemiluminescence. Three sets of Gd(2)O(3) nanoparticles were studied, i.e. as synthesized, dialyzed and both PEG-functionalized and dialyzed Gd(2)O(3) nanoparticles. In addition, neutrophil morphology was evaluated by fluorescent staining of the actin cytoskeleton and fluorescence microscopy. We show that surface modification of these nanoparticles with polyethylene glycol (PEG) is essential in order to increase their biocompatibility. We observed that the as synthesized nanoparticles markedly decreased the ROS production from neutrophils challenged with prey (opsonized yeast particles) compared to controls without nanoparticles. After functionalization and dialysis, more moderate inhibitory effects were observed at a corresponding concentration of gadolinium. At lower gadolinium concentration the response was similar to that of the control cells. We suggest that the diethylene glycol (DEG) present in the as synthesized nanoparticle preparation is responsible for the inhibitory effects on the neutrophil oxidative burst. Indeed, in the present study we also show that even a low concentration of DEG, 0.3%, severely inhibits neutrophil function. In summary, the low cellular response upon PEG-functionalized Gd(2)O(3) nanoparticle exposure indicates that these nanoparticles are promising candidates for MR-imaging purposes.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Ultrasmall paramagnetic Gd(2)O(3) nanoparticles have been developed as contrast agents for molecular and cellular preclinical MRI procedures. These small particles (mean diameter <5 nm) have the highest Gd density of all paramagnetic contrast agents. They generate strong positive contrast enhancement in T(1)-weighted MRI. Signal enhancement is modulated by the interactions of water molecules with Gd, and very small particles provide the optimal surface-to-volume ratios necessary to reach high relaxivities. Conventional Gd(2)O(3) nanocrystal synthesis techniques, and subsequent polyethylene glycol (PEG) grafting procedures are usually time-consuming and recovery losses are also limitative. The present study reports on a new, fast, and efficient one-pot Gd(2)O(3) synthesis technique that provides PEGylated nanoparticles of very small size (mean diameter = 1.3 nm). Readily coated with PEG, the particles are colloidally stable in aqueous media and provide high longitudial relaxivities and small r(2)/r(1) ratios (r(1) = 14.2 mM(-1) s(-1) at 60 MHz; r(2)/r(1) = 1.20), ideal for T(1)-weighted MRI. In this study, F98 brain cancer cells (glioblastoma multiforme) were labeled with the contrast agent and implanted in vivo (mice brains). The labeled cells appeared positively contrasted at least 48 h after implantation. Each one of the implanted animals developed a brain tumor. The performance of PEG-Gd(2)O(3) was also compared with that of commercially available iron oxide nanoparticles. This study demonstrated that ultrasmall PEG-Gd(2)O(3) nanoparticles provide strong positive contrast enhancement in T(1)-weighted imaging, and allow the visualization of labeled cells implanted in vivo.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) yields high spatially resolved contrast with anatomical details for diagnosis, deeper penetration depth and rapid 3D scanning. To improve imaging sensitivity, adding contrast agents accelerates the relaxation rate of water molecules, thereby greatly increasing the contrast between specific issues or organs of interest. Currently, the majority of T(1) contrast agents are paramagnetic molecular complexes, typically Gd(iii) chelates. Various nanoparticulate T(1) and T(1)/T(2) contrast agents have recently been investigated as novel agents possessing the advantages of both the T(1) contrast effect and nanostructural characteristics. In this minireview, we describe the recent progress of these inorganic nanoparticle-based MRI contrast agents. Specifically, we mainly report on Gd and Mn-based inorganic nanoparticles and ultrasmall iron oxide/ferrite nanoparticles.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Over the last few decades, nanoparticles have been studied in theranostic field with the objective of exhibiting a long circulation time through the body coupled to major accumulation in tumor tissues, rapid elimination, therapeutic potential and contrast properties. In this context, we developed sub-5 nm gadolinium-based nanoparticles that possess in vitro efficient radiosensitizing effects at moderate concentration when incubated with head and neck squamous cell carcinoma cells (SQ20B). Two main cellular internalization mechanisms were evidenced and quantified: passive diffusion and macropinocytosis. Whereas the amount of particles internalized by passive diffusion is not sufficient to induce in vitro a significant radiosensitizing effect, the cellular uptake by macropinocytosis leads to a successful radiotherapy in a limited range of particles incubation concentration. Macropinocytosis processes in two steps: formation of agglomerates at vicinity of the cell followed by their collect via the lamellipodia (i.e. the "arms") of the cell. The first step is strongly dependent on the physicochemical characteristics of the particles, especially their zeta potential that determines the size of the agglomerates and their distance from the cell. These results should permit to control the quantity of particles internalized in the cell cytoplasm, promising ambitious opportunities towards a particle-assisted radiotherapy using lower radiation doses.
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