In the past two decades advances in the development of targeted nanoparticles have facilitated their application as molecular imaging agents and targeted drug delivery vehicles. Nanoparticle-enhanced molecular imaging of the angiogenic tumor vasculature has been of particular interest. Not only because angiogenesis plays an important role in various pathologies, but also since endothelial cell surface receptors are directly accessible for relatively large circulating nanoparticles. Typically, nanoparticle targeting towards these receptors is studied by analyzing the contrast distribution on tumor images acquired before and at set time points after administration. Although several exciting proof-of-concept studies demonstrated qualitative assessment of relative target concentration and distribution, these studies did not provide quantitative information on the nanoparticle targeting kinetics. These kinetics will not only depend on nanoparticle characteristics, but also on receptor binding and recycling. In this study, we monitored the in vivo targeting kinetics of αvβ3-integrin specific nanoparticles with intravital microscopy and dynamic contrast enhanced magnetic resonance imaging, and using compartment modeling we were able to quantify nanoparticle targeting rates. As such, this approach can facilitate optimization of targeted nanoparticle design and it holds promise for providing more quantitative information on in vivo receptor levels. Interestingly, we also observed a periodicity in the accumulation kinetics of αvβ3-integrin targeted nanoparticles and hypothesize that this periodicity is caused by receptor binding, internalization and recycling dynamics. Taken together, this demonstrates that our experimental approach provides new insights in in vivo nanoparticle targeting, which may proof useful for vascular targeting in general.
Angiogenesis, 2014, Vol 17, Issue 1, p. 93-107
Journal Article; Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't