A human ferritin iron oxide nano-composite magnetic resonance contrast agent. Magn Reson Med

Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Montana State University, Bozeman, Montana 59715, USA.
Magnetic Resonance in Medicine (Impact Factor: 3.57). 11/2008; 60(5):1073-81. DOI: 10.1002/mrm.21761
Source: PubMed


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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