Gold nanoparticles as multimodality imaging agents for brain gliomas
Background: Nanoparticles can be used for targeted drug delivery, in particular for brain cancer therapy. However, this requires a detailed analysis of nanoparticles from the associated microvasculature to the tumor, not easy because of the required high spatial resolution. The objective of this study is to demonstrate an experimental solution of this problem, based in vivo and post-mortem whole organ imaging plus nanoscale 3-dimensional (3D) X-ray microscopy. Results: The use of gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) as contrast agents paved the way to a detailed high-resolution three dimensional (3D) X-ray and fluorescence imaging analysis of the relation between xenografted glioma cells and the tumor-induced angiogenic microvasculature. The images of the angiogenic microvessels revealed nanoparticle leakage. Complementary tests showed that after endocytotic internalization fluorescent AuNPs allow the visible-light detection of cells. Conclusions: AuNP-loading of cells could be extended from the case presented here to other imaging techniques. In our study, they enabled us to (1) identify primary glioma cells at inoculation sites in mice brains; (2) follow the subsequent development of gliomas. (3) Detect the full details of the tumor-related microvasculature; (4) Finding leakage of AuNPs from the tumor-related vasculature, in contrast to no leakage from normal vasculature.