Core-based lipid nanoparticles as a nanoplatform for delivery of near-infrared fluorescent imaging agents.

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This article has been peer reviewed. It was published in: American Journal of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging.
Volume 4, Issue 6, 2014, Pages 507-524.
The published version is available: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4171838/.

AJNMMI Copyright © 2014


Pyropheophorbide a (Pyro) is a near-infrared (NIR) fluorescent dye and photosensitizer with high quantum yield that makes the dye suitable for tumor treatment both as an imaging and therapy agent. We have designed and synthesized a series of a Pyro-based NIR probes, based on the conjugation of Pyro with lipids. The nature of our probes requires the use of a lipophilic carrier to deliver the probes to cancer cell membranes. To address this, we have utilized lipid-based nanoparticles (LNPs) consisting of PEGylated lipids, which form the nanoparticle shell, and a lipid core. To endow the LNPs with targeting properties, nitrilotriacetic acid (NTA) lipids were included in the composition that enables the non-covalent attachment of His-tag targeting proteins preserving their functional activity. We found that the nature of the core molecules influence the nanoparticle size, shelf-life and stability at physiological temperature. Two different Pyro-lipid conjugates were loaded either into the core or shell of the LNPs. The conjugates revealed differential ability to be accumulated in the cell membrane of the target cells with time. Thus, the modular organization of the core-shell LNPs allows facile adjustment of their composition with goal to fine tuning the nanoparticle properties for in vivo application.