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ACS Nano. 2018 Jan 23;12(1):109-116. doi: 10.1021/acsnano.7b07720. Epub 2017 Dec 12.

Nanoparticle Functionalization with Platelet Membrane Enables Multifactored Biological Targeting and Detection of Atherosclerosis.

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Department of NanoEngineering, Department of Bioengineering, and Moores Cancer Center, University of California San Diego , La Jolla, California 92093, United States.


Cardiovascular disease represents one of the major causes of death across the global population. Atherosclerosis, one of its most common drivers, is characterized by the gradual buildup of arterial plaque over time, which can ultimately lead to life-threatening conditions. Given the impact of the disease on public health, there is a great need for effective and noninvasive imaging modalities that can provide valuable information on its biological underpinnings during development. Here, we leverage the role of platelets in atherogenesis to design nanocarriers capable of targeting multiple biological elements relevant to plaque development. Biomimetic nanoparticles are prepared by coating platelet membrane around a synthetic nanoparticulate core, the product of which is capable of interacting with activated endothelium, foam cells, and collagen. The effects are shown to be exclusive to platelet membrane-coated nanoparticles. These biomimetic nanocarriers are not only capable of efficiently localizing to well-developed atherosclerotic plaque, but can also target subclinical regions of arteries susceptible to plaque formation. Using a commonly employed magnetic resonance imaging contrast agent, live detection is demonstrated using an animal model of atherosclerosis. Ultimately, this strategy may be leveraged to better assess the development of atherosclerosis, offering additional information to help clinicians better manage the disease.


MRI; atherosclerosis; biointerfacing; biomimetic nanoparticle; cardiovascular disease; platelet

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