Dextran sulfate-coated superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles as a contrast agent for atherosclerosis imaging

Dong Gil You, Gurusamy Saravanakumar, Soyoung Son, Hwa Seung Han, Roun Heo, Kwangmeyung Kim, Ick Chan Kwon, Jun Young Lee, Jae Hyung Park
Carbohydrate Polymers 2014 January 30, 101: 1225-33
The hallmark of atherosclerosis in its early pathogenic process is the overexpression of class A scavenger receptors (SR-A) by activated macrophages. In this study, dextran sulfate-coated superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles (DS-SPIONs), as a magnetic resonance (MR) imaging contrast agent of atherosclerosis, was prepared via the facile co-precipitation method using a versatile double-hydrophilic block copolymer comprising of a DS segment (ligand for SR-A) and a poly(glyclerol methacrylate) segment (SPIONs surface-anchoring unit). The physicochemical properties of the DS-SPIONs were investigated using various instruments. DS-SPIONs exhibited high aqueous stability compared to dextran-coated SPIONs (Dex-SPIONs), which were used as controls. The cellular uptake behaviors of DS-SPIONs and Dex-SPIONs were evaluated using Prussian blue assay. Interestingly, the DS-SPIONs were effectively taken up by activated macrophages compared to Dex-SPIONs. However, the cellular uptake of DS-SPIONs by activated macrophages was remarkably reduced in the presence of free DS. These results suggest that activated macrophages internalize DS-SPIONs via receptor (SR-A)-mediated endocytosis. T2-weighted MR imaging of the cells demonstrated that activated macrophages treated with DS-SPIONs showed a significantly lower signal intensity compared to those treated with Dex-SPIONs. Overall, these results suggest that DS-SPIONs may be utilized as a potential contrast agent for atherosclerosis MR imaging.

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