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Aptamer-conjugated PEGylated quantum dots targeting epidermal growth factor receptor variant III for fluorescence imaging of glioma

Authors Tang J, Huang N, Zhang X, Zhou T, Tan Y, Pi J, Pi L, Cheng S, Zheng H, Cheng Y

Received 24 January 2017

Accepted for publication 18 April 2017

Published 22 May 2017 Volume 2017:12 Pages 3899—3911


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr Linlin Sun

Jiaze Tang,1 Ning Huang,1 Xiang Zhang,1,2 Tao Zhou,3 Ying Tan,1,4 Jiangli Pi,5 Li Pi,1 Si Cheng,6 Huzhi Zheng,5 Yuan Cheng1

1Department of Neurosurgery, The Second Affiliated Hospital of Chongqing Medical University, 2Chongqing Key Laboratory of Ultrasound Molecular Imaging, Institute of Ultrasound Imaging, 3Chongqing Key Laboratory of Biochemistry and Molecular Pharmacology, 4Institute of Life Sciences, Chongqing Medical University, 5Key Laboratory on Luminescent and Real-Time Analytical Chemistry, Ministry of Education, College of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Southwest University, 6Department of Orthopaedics, The Second Affiliated Hospital of Chongqing Medical University, Chongqing, People’s Republic of China

Abstract: The extent of resection is a significant prognostic factor in glioma patients. However, the maximum safe resection level is difficult to determine due to the inherent infiltrative character of tumors. Recently, fluorescence-guided surgery has emerged as a new technique that allows safe resection of glioma. In this study, we constructed a new kind of quantum dot (QD)-labeled aptamer (QD-Apt) nanoprobe by conjugating aptamer 32 (A32) to the QDs surface, which can specially bind to the tumors. A32 is a single-stranded DNA capable of binding to the epidermal growth factor receptor variant III (EGFRvIII) specially distributed on the surface of glioma cells. To detect the expression of EGFRvIII in human brain tissues, 120 specimens, including 110 glioma tissues and 10 normal brain tissues, were examined by immunohistochemistry, and the results showed that the rate of positive expression of EGFRvIII in the glioma tissues was 41.82%, and 0.00% in normal brain tissues. Besides, the physiochemical properties of QD-Apt nanoparticles (NPs) were thoroughly characterized. Biocompatibility of the NPs was evaluated, and the results suggested that the QD-Apt was nontoxic in vivo and vitro. Furthermore, the use of the QD-Apt in labeling glioma cell lines and human brain glioma tissues, and target gliomas in situ was also investigated. We found that not only could QD-Apt specially bind to the U87-EGFRvIII glioma cells but also bind to human glioma tissues in vitro. Fluorescence imaging in vivo with orthotopic glioma model mice bearing U87-EGFRvIII showed that QD-Apt could penetrate the blood–brain barrier and then selectively accumulate in the tumors through binding to EGFRvIII, and consequently, generate a strong fluorescence, which contributed to the margins of gliomas that were visualized clearly, and thus, help the surgeons realize the maximum safe resection of glioma. In addition, QD-Apt can also be applied in preoperative diagnosis and postoperative examination of glioma. Therefore, these achievements facilitate the use of tumor-targeted fluorescence imaging in the diagnosis, surgical resection, and postoperative examination of glioma.

Keywords: quantum dot, aptamer, EGFRvIII, brain glioma, tumor-targeted imaging, extent of resection

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