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Non-immunogenic dextran-coated superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles: a biocompatible, size-tunable contrast agent for magnetic resonance imaging

Authors Unterweger H, Janko C, Schwarz M, Dézsi L, Urbanics R, Matuszak J, Őrfi E, Fülöp T, Bäuerle T, Szebeni J, Journé C, Boccaccini AR, Alexiou C, Lyer S, Cicha I

Received 27 March 2017

Accepted for publication 13 May 2017

Published 24 July 2017 Volume 2017:12 Pages 5223—5238

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/IJN.S138108

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Alexander Kharlamov

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Prof. Dr. Thomas J Webster

Harald Unterweger,1,* Christina Janko,1,* Marc Schwarz,2 László Dézsi,3 Rudolf Urbanics,4 Jasmin Matuszak,1 Erik Őrfi,3 Tamás Fülöp,3 Tobias Bäuerle,2 János Szebeni,3,4 Clément Journé,5 Aldo R Boccaccini,6 Christoph Alexiou,1 Stefan Lyer,1 Iwona Cicha1

1Cardiovascular Nanomedicine Unit, Section of Experimental Oncology und Nanomedicine (SEON), Else Kröner-Fresenius-Stiftung-Professorship, ENT Department, University Hospital Erlangen, Friedrich-Alexander-Universitaet Erlangen-Nuernberg, 2Preclinical Imaging Platform Erlangen (PIPE), Institute of Radiology, University Hospital Erlangen, Erlangen, Germany; 3Nanomedicine Research and Education Center, Semmelweis University, 4SeroScience Ltd., Budapest, Hungary; 5Inserm U1148, Fédération de Recherche en Imagerie Multimodalités (FRIM), X Bichat Hospital, Paris Diderot University, Paris, France; 6Institute of Biomaterials, Department of Materials Science and Engineering, University Erlangen-Nuremberg, Erlangen, Germany

*These authors contributed equally to this work


Abstract: Iron oxide-based contrast agents have been in clinical use for magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of lymph nodes, liver, intestines, and the cardiovascular system. Superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles (SPIONs) have high potential as a contrast agent for MRI, but no intravenous iron oxide-containing agents are currently approved for clinical imaging. The aim of our work was to analyze the hemocompatibility and immuno-safety of a new type of dextran-coated SPIONs (SPIONdex) and to characterize these nanoparticles with ultra-high-field MRI. Key parameters related to nanoparticle hemocompatibility and immuno-safety were investigated in vitro and ex vivo. To address concerns associated with hypersensitivity reactions to injectable nanoparticulate agents, we analyzed complement activation-related pseudoallergy (CARPA) upon intravenous administration of SPIONdex in a pig model. Furthermore, the size-tunability of SPIONdex and the effects of size reduction on their biocompatibility were investigated. In vitro, SPIONdex did not induce hemolysis, complement or platelet activation, plasma coagulation, or leukocyte procoagulant activity, and had no relevant effect on endothelial cell viability or endothelial–monocytic cell interactions. Furthermore, SPIONdex did not induce CARPA even upon intravenous administration of 5 mg Fe/kg in pigs. Upon SPIONdex administration in mice, decreased liver signal intensity was observed after 15 minutes and was still detectable 24 h later. In addition, by changing synthesis parameters, a reduction in particle size <30 nm was achieved, without affecting their hemo- and biocompatibility. Our findings suggest that due to their excellent biocompatibility, safety upon intravenous administration and size-tunability, SPIONdex particles may represent a suitable candidate for a new-generation MRI contrast agent.

Keywords: superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles, MRI, hypersensitivity reaction, SPION uptake, hemocompatibility

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