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Macrophage uptake switches on OCT contrast of superparamagnetic nanoparticles for imaging of atherosclerotic plaques

Authors Ariza de Schellenberger A, Poller WC, Stangl V, Landmesser U, Schellenberger E

Received 12 July 2018

Accepted for publication 11 September 2018

Published 23 November 2018 Volume 2018:13 Pages 7905—7913

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/IJN.S179920

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Cristina Weinberg

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr Thomas Webster


Angela Ariza de Schellenberger,1,* Wolfram C Poller,2,* Verena Stangl,2 Ulf Landmesser,3 Eyk Schellenberger1

1Department of Radiology, Charité-Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Germany; 2Department of Interventional Cardiology, Charité-Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Germany; 3Department of Cardiology, Charité- Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Berlin Institute of Health (BIH) and Deutsches Zentrum für Herz-Kreislaufforschung (DZHK), Berlin, Germany

*These authors contributed equally to this work

Background: Optical coherence tomography (OCT) is an intravascular, high-resolution imaging technique that is used to characterize atherosclerotic plaques. However, the identification of macrophages as important markers of inflammation and plaque vulnerability remains difficult. Here, we investigate whether the uptake of very small iron oxide particles (VSOP) in macrophages, that cluster in phagolysosomes and allow high-quality magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of atherosclerotic plaques, and uptake of ferumoxytol nanoparticles enhance detection of macrophages by OCT.
Materials and methods: RAW 264.7 macrophage cells were incubated with VSOP (1 and 2 mM Fe) that have been clinically tested and ferumoxytol (8.9 mM Fe) that is approved for iron deficiency treatment and currently investigated as an MRI contrast agent. The light scattering of control macrophages, nanoparticle-labeled macrophages (2,000,000 in 500 µL) and nanoparticle suspensions was measured in synchronous wavelength scan mode using a fluorescence spectrophotometer. For OCT analyses, pellets of 8,000,000 non-labeled, VSOP-labeled and ferumoxytol-labeled RAW 264.7 macrophages were imaged and analyzed on an OPTIS™ OCT imaging system.
Results: Incubation with 1 and 2 mM VSOP resulted in uptake of 7.1±1.5 and 12±1.5 pg Fe per cell, which increased the backscattering of the macrophages in spectrophotometry 2.5- and 3.6-fold, whereas incubation with 8.9 mM Fe ferumoxytol resulted in uptake of 6.6±2 pg Fe per cell, which increased the backscattering 1.5-fold at 700 nm. In contrast, backscattering of non-clustered nanoparticles in suspension was negligible. Accordingly, OCT imaging could visualize significantly increased backscattering and signal attenuation of nanoparticle-labeled macrophages in comparison with controls.
Conclusion: We conclude that VSOP and, to a lesser extent, ferumoxytol increase light scattering and attenuation when taken up by macrophages and can serve as a multimodal imaging probe for MRI and OCT to improve macrophage detection in atherosclerotic plaques by OCT in the future.

Keywords: intravascular, inflammation, vulnerability, multimodal imaging, optical coherence tomography, magnetic resonance imaging

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