ABSTRACT: Targeting of therapeutics or imaging agents to the endothelium has the potential to improve specificity and effectiveness of treatment for many diseases. One strategy to achieve this goal is the use of nanoparticles (NPs) targeted to the endothelium by ligands of protein determinants present on this tissue, including cell adhesion molecules, peptidases, and cell receptors. However, detachment of the radiolabel probes from NPs poses a significant problem. In this study, we devised polymeric NPs directly labeled with radioiodine isotopes including the positron emission tomography (PET) isotope (124)I, and characterized their targeting to specific endothelial determinants. This approach provided sizable, targetable probes for specific detection of endothelial surface determinants non-invasively in live animals. Direct conjugation of radiolabel to NPs allowed for stable longitudinal tracking of tissue distribution without label detachment even in an aggressive proteolytic environment. Further, this approach permits tracking of NP pharmacokinetics in real-time and non-invasive imaging of the lung in mice using micro-PET imaging. The use of this strategy will considerably improve investigation of NP interactions with target cells and PET imaging in small animals, which ultimately can aid in the optimization of targeted drug delivery.
Biomaterials 05/2012; 33(21):5406-13. · 7.40 Impact Factor