Cocaine analogue conjugated magnetic nanoparticles for labeling and imaging dopaminergic neurons
Molecular imaging of the dopamine transporter (DAT) with Positron Emission Tomography (PET) or Single Photon Emission Computed Tomography (SPECT) has been widely used in studies of neurological and psychiatric disorders. Nevertheless, there is a great interest in expanding molecular imaging to include magnetic resonance technology, because of the superior spatial resolution this technology may provide. Here we present a magnetic nanoparticle (NP) that specifically targets dopaminergic neurons and allows DAT imaging with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). The nanoparticle (namely, NP-DN) is composed of an iron oxide core and a polyethylene glycol (PEG) coating to which a DAT specific dopaminergic neurolabeler (DN) is conjugated. NP-DN displayed long-term stability with favorable hydrodynamic size and surface charge suitable for in vivo application. In vitro studies showed NP-DN was non-toxic, displayed specificity towards DAT-expressing neurons, and demonstrated a 3-fold increase in DAT labeling over non-targeted NP. Our study shows NP-DN provides excellent contrast enhancement for MRI and demonstrates great potential for neuroimaging.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Biomaterials for Imaging and Sensing