A human ferritin iron oxide nano-composite magnetic resonance contrast agent
ABSTRACT Macrophages play important roles in the immunological defense system, but at the same time they are involved in inflammatory diseases such as atherosclerosis. Therefore, imaging macrophages is critical to assessing the status of these diseases. Toward this goal, a recombinant human H chain ferritin (rHFn)-iron oxide nano composite has been investigated as an MRI contrast agent for labeling macrophages. Iron oxide nanoparticles in the form of magnetite (or maghemite) with narrow size distribution were synthesized in the interior cavity of rHFn. The composite material exhibited the R(2) relaxivity comparable to known iron oxide MRI contrast agents. Furthermore, the mineralized protein cages are readily taken up by macrophages in vitro and provide significant T2* signal loss of the labeled cells. These results encourage further investigation into the development of the rHFn-iron oxide contrast agent to assess inflammatory disease status such as macrophage-rich atherosclerotic plaques in vivo.
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ABSTRACT: Dps-like proteins are key factors involved in the protection of prokaryotic cells from oxidative damage. They act by either oxidizing iron to prevent the formation of oxidative radicals or by forming Dps-DNA complexes to physically protect DNA. All Dps-like proteins are characterized by a common three-dimensional architecture and are found as spherical dodecamers with a hollow central cavity. Despite their structural similarities, recent biochemical and structural data have suggested different functions among members of the family that range from protection inside the cells in response to various stress signals to adhesion and virulence during bacterial infections. Moreover, the Dps-like proteins have lately attracted considerable interest in the field of nanotechnology owing to their ability to act as protein cages for iron and various other metals. A better understanding of their function and mechanism could therefore lead to novel applications in biotechnology and nanotechnology.Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences CMLS 10/2009; 67(3):341-51. DOI:10.1007/s00018-009-0168-2 · 5.86 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: The development of novel and effective contrast agents is one of the drivers of the ongoing improvement in medical imaging. Many of the new agents reported are nanoparticle-based. There are a variety of natural nanoparticles known, e.g. lipoproteins, viruses or ferritin. Natural nanoparticles have advantages as delivery platforms such as biodegradability. In addition, our understanding of natural nanoparticles is quite advanced, allowing their adaptation as contrast agents. They can be labeled with small molecules or ions such as Gd(3+) to act as contrast agents for magnetic resonance imaging, (18)F to act as positron emission tomography contrast agents or fluorophores to act as contrast agents for fluorescence techniques. Additionally, inorganic nanoparticles such as iron oxide, gold nanoparticles or quantum dots can be incorporated to add further contrast functionality. Furthermore, these natural nanoparticle contrast agents can be re-routed from their natural targets via the attachment of targeting molecules. In this review, we discuss the various modified natural nanoparticles that have been exploited as contrast agents.Advanced drug delivery reviews 11/2009; 62(3):329-38. DOI:10.1016/j.addr.2009.11.005 · 12.71 Impact Factor