Long-term in vivo performances of polylactide/iron oxide nanoparticles core–shell fibrous nanocomposites as MRI-visible magneto-scaffolds†
There is a growing interest in magnetic nanocomposites in biomaterials science. In particular, nanocomposites that combine poly(lactide) (PLA) nanofibers and superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles (SPIONs), which can be obtained by either electrospinning of a SPION suspension in PLA or by precipitating SPIONs at the surface of PLA, are well documented in the literature. However, these two classical processes yield nanocomposites with altered materials properties, and their long-term in vivo fate and performances have in most cases only been evaluated over short periods of time. Recently, we reported a new strategy to prepare well-defined PLA@SPION nanofibers with a quasi-monolayer of SPIONs anchored at the surface of PLA electrospun fibers. Herein, we report on a 6-month in vivo rat implantation study with the aim of evaluating the long-term magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) properties of this new class of magnetic nanocomposites, as well as their tissue integration and degradation. Using clinically relevant T2-weighted MRI conditions, we show that the PLA@SPION nanocomposites are clearly visible up to 6 months. We also evaluate here by histological analyses the slow degradation of the PLA@SPIONs, as well as their biocompatibility. Overall, these results make these nanocomposites attractive for the development of magnetic biomaterials for biomedical applications.