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Hyaluronic acid-functionalized single-walled carbon nanotubes as tumor-targeting MRI contrast agent

Authors Hou L, Zhang H, Wang Y, Wang L, Yang X, Zhang Z

Received 2 December 2014

Accepted for publication 27 April 2015

Published 16 July 2015 Volume 2015:10(1) Pages 4507—4520

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/IJN.S78563

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr Lei Yang

Lin Hou,* Huijuan Zhang,* Yating Wang, Lili Wang, Xiaomin Yang, Zhenzhong Zhang

School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Zhengzhou University, Zhengzhou, People’s Republic of China

*These authors contributed equally to this work

Abstract: A tumor-targeting carrier, hyaluronic acid (HA)-functionalized single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs), was explored to deliver magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) contrast agents (CAs) targeting to the tumor cells specifically. In this system, HA surface modification for SWCNTs was simply accomplished by amidation process and could make this nanomaterial highly hydrophilic. Cellular uptake was performed to evaluate the intracellular transport capabilities of HA-SWCNTs for tumor cells and the uptake rank was HA-SWCNTs> SWCNTs owing to the presence of HA, which was also evidenced by flow cytometry. The safety evaluation of this MRI CAs was investigated in vitro and in vivo. It revealed that HA-SWCNTs could stand as a biocompatible nanocarrier and gadolinium (Gd)/HA-SWCNTs demonstrated almost no toxicity compared with free GdCl3. Moreover, GdCl3 bearing HA-SWCNTs could significantly increase the circulation time for MRI. Finally, to investigate the MRI contrast enhancing capabilities of Gd/HA-SWCNTs, T1-weighted MR images of tumor-bearing mice were acquired. The results suggested Gd/HA-SWCNTs had the highest tumor-targeting efficiency and T1-relaxivity enhancement, indicating HA-SWCNTs could be developed as a tumor-targeting carrier to deliver the CAs, GdCl3, for the identifiable diagnosis of tumor.

Keywords: gadolinium, magnetic resonance, SWCNTs, hyaluronic acid, contrast agent

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