Zongren Zhang

University of Washington Seattle, Seattle, WA, United States

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Publications (11)43.94 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Receptor-specific small molecules and nanoparticles are widely used in molecular imaging of tumors. Although some studies have described the relative strengths and weaknesses of the two approaches, reports of a direct comparison and analysis of the two strategies are lacking. Herein, we compared the tumor-targeting characteristics of a small near-infrared fluorescent compound (cypate-peptide conjugate) and relatively large perfluorocarbon-based nanoparticles (250 nm diameter) for imaging alpha(nu)beta(3)-integrin receptor expression in tumors. Near-infrared fluorescent small molecules and nanoparticles were administered to living mice bearing subcutaneous or intradermal syngeneic tumors and imaged with whole-body and high-resolution optical imaging systems. The nanoparticles, designed for vascular constraint, remained within the tumor vasculature while the small integrin-avid ligands diffused into the tissue to target integrin expression on tumor and endothelial cells. Targeted small-molecule and nanoparticle contrast agents preferentially accumulated in tumor tissue with tumor-to-muscle ratios of 8 and 7, respectively, compared with 3 for nontargeted nanoparticles. Fluorescent small molecular probes demonstrate greater overall early tumor contrast and rapid visualization of tumors, but the vascular-constrained nanoparticles are more selective for detecting cancer-induced angiogenesis. A combination of both imaging agents provides a strategy to image and quantify integrin expression in tumor tissue and tumor-induced neovascular systems.
    Nanomedicine 07/2010; 5(5):715-26. · 5.26 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Fluorescence has advanced our understanding in various aspects of biological processes. Fluorescence in the near infrared (NIR) region avoids background autofluorescence from biological samples leading to improved image quality. In searching for indocyanine green (ICG) analogs that can be attached to biomolecules, we observed that dichromic fluorescence manifested in some mono reactive-group functionalized ICG analogs. The two emission bands are distinctively separate from each other, making it a unique feature of fluorescent probes found in biological studies. We further demonstrated that the dichromism comes from the structure and is transferable from dye to its bioconjugates. In this paper, we used Resonance Theory and Molecular Orbital Theory to explain the fluorophore photochemistry in an effort to understand the general fluorescence feature of ICG analogs and provide understanding of the secondary emission band.
    Pure and Applied Chemistry 01/2010; 82(1):307-311. · 3.39 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We have developed a generic approach to determine enzyme activities in vitro and monitor their functional status in vivo. Specifically, a method to generate donor (CbOH)-acceptor (Me2NCp) near-infrared (NIR) fluorescent dye pairs for preparing enzyme activatable molecular systems were developed based on the structural template of heptamethine cyanine dyes. Using caspase-3 as a model enzyme, we prepared two new caspase-3 sensitive compounds with high fluorescence quenching efficiency: Me2NCp-DEVD-K(CbOH)-OH (4) and AcGK(Me2NCp)-DEVD-APK(CbOH)-NH2 (5). The mechanism of quenching was based on combined effects of direct (classical) and reverse fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET). Caspase-3 cleavage of the scissile DEVD amide bond regenerated the NIR fluorescence of both donor and acceptor dyes. While both compounds were cleaved by caspase-3, substrate 5 was cleaved more readily than 4, yielding k(cat) and K(M), values of 1.02 +/- 0.06 s(-1) and 15 +/- 3 microM, respectively. Treatment of A549 tumor cells with paclitaxel resulted in > 2-fold increase in the fluorescence intensity by NIR confocal microscopy, suggesting the activation of pro-caspase-3 to caspase-3. A similar trend was observed in a mouse model, where the fluorescence intensity was nearly twice the value in caspase-3-rich tissue relative to the control. These results demonstrate the use of the same NIR activatable molecular systems for monitoring the activities of enzymes across a wide spatial scale ranging from in vitro kinetics measurements to in cellulo and in vivo localization of caspase-3 activation. The NIR activatable molecular probes provide an effective strategy to screen new drugs in vitro and monitor treatment response in living organisms.
    Molecular Pharmaceutics 04/2009; 6(2):416-27. · 4.57 Impact Factor
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    Angewandte Chemie International Edition 02/2008; 47(19):3584-7. · 11.34 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Accurate diagnosis and treatment of various pathologic conditions can be achieved by integrating multimodal imaging systems that furnish complementary information to improve patient management. The availability of high-resolution tomography systems, fast computers, and image reconstruction algorithms has improved disease diagnosis and treatment management. As medical practice moves into the molecular era, the realization that no single imaging method can provide solutions to the complex information derived from molecular imaging has heightened interest in the use of multimodal imaging to harness the strengths of different imaging methods. For example, co-registration of pathologic tissues with computed tomography (CT) and radionuclear platform provides complementary anatomical and functional diagnostic information, respectively. Optical imaging (OI) promises to complement established imaging methods by reporting molecular events with high detection sensitivity. Although combining molecular optical contrasts with MRI or CT provides co-registered reference anatomy, the disparate contrast agent concentrations needed for OI and MRI or CT present a barrier to integration. An alternative approach is to combine OI with an established imaging modality possessing similar detection sensitivity but complementary reporting strategies. Because of the high sensitivity of both nuclear and OI methods and the compatibility of their imaging agents, incorporating nuclear to OI will provide a unique opportunity to fuse the imaging datasets with identical pharmacokinetics but different contrast mechanisms. To appreciate the potential benefits of combining optical and SPECT/PET, we have tabulated the similarities and differences between the two imaging methods in Table 1 (1). Based on these properties, several potential opportunities to combine the two platforms become apparent.
    01/2008;
  • Journal of Biotechnology - J BIOTECHNOL. 01/2008; 136.
  • Zongren Zhang, Samuel Achilefu
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    ABSTRACT: Removal of a hydroxylsulfonylbutyl arm from indocyanine green dye produced a pH-sensitive near-infrared (NIR) fluorescent indicator that is useful at physiological range.
    Chemical Communications 01/2006; · 6.38 Impact Factor
  • Zongren Zhang, Samuel Achilefu
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    ABSTRACT: Monomolecular multimodal imaging agents (MOMIAs) are able to provide complementary diagnostic information of a target diseased tissue. We developed a convenient solid-phase approach to construct two pro-MOMIAs (before incorporating radiometal) derived from 1,4,7,10-tetraazacyclododecane-1,4,7,10-tetraacetic acid (DOTA) and cypate, a near-infrared (NIR) fluorescent dye analogous to indocyanine green (ICG). The possible interaction between d orbitals of transition metal DOTA complexes or free metals and the p orbitals of cypate chromophore could quench the fluorescence of pro-MOMIAs. However, we did not observe significant changes in the spectral properties of cypate upon conjugation with DOTA and subsequent chelation with metals. The fluorescence intensity of the chelated and nonmetal-chelated PRO-MOMIAs remained fairly the same in dilute 20% aqueous dimethylsulfoxide (DMSO) solution (1 x 10(-6) M). Significant reduction in the fluorescence intensity of pro-MOMIAs occurred in the presence of a large excess of metal ions (>1 molar ratio for indium and 20-fold for a copper relative to pro-MOMIA). This study suggests the feasibility of using MOMIAs for combined optical and radioisotope imaging.
    Photochemistry and Photobiology 01/2005; 81(6):1499-504. · 2.29 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Diagnosis of diseases by different imaging methods can provide complementary information about the functional status of diseased tissues or organs. To overcome the current difficulties in coregistering images from different imaging modalities with a high degree of accuracy, we prepared near-infrared (NIR) monomolecular multimodal imaging agents (MOMIAs) consisting of a heptamethine carbocyanine and 111In-DOTA chelate that served as antennae for optical and scintigraphic imaging, respectively. Their spectral properties clearly show that coordination of indium to MOMIA increased the fluorescence intensity of the compounds. The MOMIAs are exceptionally stable in biological media and serum up to 24 h at 37 degrees C. Biodistribution of the compounds in mice obtained by fluorescence photon and gamma-counts demonstrated a similar distribution trend of the molecular probe in different tissues, suggesting that the detected fluorescence and gamma-emissions emanated from the same source (MOMIA). At 24 h postinjection, the MOMIAs were excreted by the renal and hepatobiliary systems and the blood level of a representative MOMIA was very low, thereby reducing background noise caused by circulating molecular probes. These findings demonstrate the feasibility of preparing single molecules with the capacity to emit discernible and diagnostic fluorescent and gamma-radiations for optical and nuclear imaging of living organisms.
    Bioconjugate Chemistry 01/2005; 16(5):1232-9. · 4.58 Impact Factor
  • Zongren Zhang, Samuel Achilefu
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    ABSTRACT: [reaction: see text] A new near-infrared (NIR) fluorescent molecular probe derived from indocarbocyanine dye and galactose was prepared, and the procedure was optimized. The presence of a nonionic polyhydroxyl moiety between hydrophobic groups enhances solubility and possibly minimizes aggregation in aqueous solutions. The structural framework of this molecule provides multivalent sites for labeling diverse molecules.
    Organic Letters 07/2004; 6(12):2067-70. · 6.14 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: A new carbocyanine optical molecular probe with enhanced water solubility and constrained structural conformations was designed and synthesized. The near infrared (NIR) fluorescent probe contains a nonionic D-galactopyranose, which could improve water solubility of the probe and enhance uptake in tumors mediated by glucose transporter. The possibility of multiple attachment points provides the potential to conjugate diverse bioactive molecules to the probe. We developed an efficient synthetic method that is optimized for large-scale synthesis. Preliminary in vivo biodistribution studies show that the probe is rapidly cleared from blood and localize in the liver as early as 5 minutes post-injection of the probe in nude mice. Additional studies to evaluate the tumor uptake of the probe and its bioactive peptide conjugates are in progress.
    Proc SPIE 01/2004;

Publication Stats

141 Citations
43.94 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2005–2010
    • University of Washington Seattle
      • Department of Radiology
      Seattle, WA, United States
  • 2004–2010
    • Washington University in St. Louis
      • Department of Radiology
      San Luis, Missouri, United States
  • 2006
    • Saint Louis University
      Saint Louis, Michigan, United States