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Photoacoustic imaging of tumor targeting with riboflavin-functionalized theranostic nanocarriers

Authors Beztsinna N, Tsvetkova Y, Jose J, Rhourri-Frih B, Al Rawashdeh W, Lammers T, Kiessling F, Bestel I

Received 19 October 2016

Accepted for publication 2 December 2016

Published 18 May 2017 Volume 2017:12 Pages 3813—3825


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Thomas Webster

Nataliia Beztsinna,1,* Yoanna Tsvetkova,2,* Jithin Jose,3 Boutayna Rhourri-Frih,1 Wa’el Al Rawashdeh,2 Twan Lammers,2 Fabian Kiessling,2 Isabelle Bestel1

1Institute of Chemistry & Biology of Membranes & Nanoobjects (CBMN), UMR 5248, University of Bordeaux, Pessac, France; 2Institute for Experimental Molecular Imaging, RWTH Aachen University Clinic, Aachen, Germany; 3Fujifilm VisualSonics BV, Amsterdam, the Netherlands

*These authors contributed equally to this work

Abstract: Photoacoustic imaging is an emerging method in the molecular imaging field, providing high spatiotemporal resolution and sufficient imaging depths for many clinical applications. Therefore, the aim of this study was to use photoacoustic imaging as a tool to evaluate a riboflavin (RF)-based targeted nanoplatform. RF is internalized by the cells through a specific pathway, and its derivatives were recently shown as promising tumor-targeting vectors for the drug delivery systems. Here, the RF amphiphile synthesized from a PEGylated phospholipid was successfully inserted into a long-circulating liposome formulation labeled with the clinically approved photoacoustic contrast agent – indocyanine green (ICG). The obtained liposomes had a diameter of 124 nm (polydispersity index =0.17) and had a negative zeta potential of –26 mV. Studies in biological phantoms indicated a stable and concentration-dependent photoacoustic signal (Vevo® LAZR) of the ICG-containing RF-functionalized liposomes. In A431 cells, a high uptake of RF-functionalized liposomes was found and could be blocked competitively. First, studies in mice revealed ~3 times higher photoacoustic signal in subcutaneous A431 tumor xenografts (P<0.05) after injection of RF-functionalized liposomes compared to control particles. In this context, the application of a spectral unmixing protocol confirmed the initial quantitative data and improved the localization of liposomes in the tumor. In conclusion, the synthesized RF amphiphile leads to efficient liposomal tumor targeting and can be favorably detected by photoacoustic imaging with a perspective of theranostic applications.

Keywords: photoacoustic imaging, long-circulating liposomes, active targeting, riboflavin, indocyanine green

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