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Contrast Media Mol Imaging. 2017 Nov 22;2017:3849373. doi: 10.1155/2017/3849373. eCollection 2017.

Mapping Extracellular pH of Gliomas in Presence of Superparamagnetic Nanoparticles: Towards Imaging the Distribution of Drug-Containing Nanoparticles and Their Curative Effect on the Tumor Microenvironment.

Maritim S1,2, Coman D1,3, Huang Y1,3, Rao JU1,3, Walsh JJ1,2, Hyder F1,2,3.

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Magnetic Resonance Research Center, Yale University, New Haven, CT, USA.
Department of Biomedical Engineering, Yale University, New Haven, CT, USA.
Department of Radiology and Biomedical Imaging, Yale University, New Haven, CT, USA.


Since brain's microvasculature is compromised in gliomas, intravenous injection of tumor-targeting nanoparticles containing drugs (D-NPs) and superparamagnetic iron oxide (SPIO-NPs) can deliver high payloads of drugs while allowing MRI to track drug distribution. However, therapeutic effect of D-NPs remains poorly investigated because superparamagnetic fields generated by SPIO-NPs perturb conventional MRI readouts. Because extracellular pH (pHe) is a tumor hallmark, mapping pHe is critical. Brain pHe is measured by biosensor imaging of redundant deviation in shifts (BIRDS) with lanthanide agents, by detecting paramagnetically shifted resonances of nonexchangeable protons on the agent. To test the hypothesis that BIRDS-based pHe readout remains uncompromised by presence of SPIO-NPs, we mapped pHe in glioma-bearing rats before and after SPIO-NPs infusion. While SPIO-NPs accumulation in the tumor enhanced MRI contrast, the pHe inside and outside the MRI-defined tumor boundary remained unchanged after SPIO-NPs infusion, regardless of the tumor type (9L versus RG2) or agent injection method (renal ligation versus coinfusion with probenecid). These results demonstrate that we can simultaneously and noninvasively image the specific location and the healing efficacy of D-NPs, where MRI contrast from SPIO-NPs can track their distribution and BIRDS-based pHe can map their therapeutic impact.

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