Aptamer-conjugated Magnetic Nanoparticles as Targeted Magnetic Resonance Imaging Contrast Agent for Breast Cancer

Mohammad Keshtkar, Daryoush Shahbazi Gahrouei, Masoud A Mehrgardi, Mahmoud Aghaei



Early detection of breast cancer is the most effective way to improve the survival rate in women. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) offers high spatial resolution and good anatomic details, and its lower sensitivity can be improved by using targeted molecular imaging. In this study, AS1411 aptamer was conjugated to Fe3O4@Au nanoparticles for specific targeting of 4T1 cells that overexpress nucleolin. In vitro cytotoxicity of aptamer-conjugated nanoparticles was assessed on 4T1 and HFFF-PI6 cells. The ability of the synthesized nanoprobe to target specifically the nucleolin overexpressed cells was assessed with the MRI technique. Results showed that the synthesized nanoprobe produced strongly darkened T2-weighted magnetic resonance (MR) images with 4T1 cells, whereas the MR images of HFFF-PI6 cells incubated with the nanoprobe were brighter, showing small changes compared to water. The results demonstrate that in a Fe concentration of 45 μg/mL, the nanoprobe reduced by 90% MR image intensity in 4T1 cells compared with the 27% reduction in HFFF-PI6 cells. Analysis of MR signal intensity showed statistically significant signal intensity difference between 4T1 and HFFF-PI6 cells treated with the nanoprobe. MRI experiments demonstrated the high potential of the synthesized nanoprobe as a specific MRI contrast agent for detection of nucleolin-expressing breast cancer cells.

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