Article | Published:

Non-invasive multimodal functional imaging of the intestine with frozen micellar naphthalocyanines

Nature Nanotechnology volume 9, pages 631638 (2014) | Download Citation

Abstract

There is a need for safer and improved methods for non-invasive imaging of the gastrointestinal tract. Modalities based on X-ray radiation, magnetic resonance and ultrasound suffer from limitations with respect to safety, accessibility or lack of adequate contrast. Functional intestinal imaging of dynamic gut processes has not been practical using existing approaches. Here, we report the development of a family of nanoparticles that can withstand the harsh conditions of the stomach and intestine, avoid systemic absorption, and provide good optical contrast for photoacoustic imaging. The hydrophobicity of naphthalocyanine dyes was exploited to generate purified 20 nm frozen micelles, which we call nanonaps, with tunable and large near-infrared absorption values (>1,000). Unlike conventional chromophores, nanonaps exhibit non-shifting spectra at ultrahigh optical densities and, following oral administration in mice, passed safely through the gastrointestinal tract. Non-invasive, non-ionizing photoacoustic techniques were used to visualize nanonap intestinal distribution with low background and remarkable resolution, and enabled real-time intestinal functional imaging with ultrasound co-registration. Positron emission tomography following seamless nanonap radiolabelling allowed complementary whole-body imaging.

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Acknowledgements

The authors thank L.L. Balos for assistance with histology, C. Cheng for assistance with dynamic light scattering measurements, and E. Huynh and G. Zheng for assistance with photoacoustic spectroscopy. This work was supported by the National Institutes of Health (W.C., R01CA169365; J.F.L., DP5OD017898; M.S., S10OD010393), the Department of Defense (W.C., W81XWH-11-1-0644), the Korean Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning (IT Consilience Creative Program; C.K. and J.F.L., NIPA-2013-H0203-13-1001; C.K., NRF-2011-0030075) and a SUNY Research Foundation Collaboration Fund grant.

Author information

Affiliations

  1. Department of Biomedical Engineering, University at Buffalo, State University of New York, Buffalo, New York 14260, USA

    • Yumiao Zhang
    • , Mansik Jeon
    • , Jumin Geng
    • , Chulhong Kim
    •  & Jonathan F. Lovell
  2. Chemical and Biological Engineering, University at Buffalo, State University of New York, Buffalo, New York 14260, USA

    • Yumiao Zhang
    • , Paschalis Alexandridis
    •  & Jonathan F. Lovell
  3. Department of Creative IT Engineering, POSTECH, Pohang, Korea

    • Mansik Jeon
    •  & Chulhong Kim
  4. Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics, Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Buffalo, New York 14263, USA

    • Laurie J. Rich
    •  & Mukund Seshadri
  5. Department of Radiology and Department of Medical Physics, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin 53705, USA

    • Hao Hong
    • , Yin Zhang
    • , Sixiang Shi
    • , Todd E. Barnhart
    •  & Weibo Cai
  6. Farncombe Family Digestive Health Research Institute, Department of Medicine, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario L8N 3Z5, Canada

    • Jan D. Huizinga

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Contributions

Yu.Z. and J.F.L. conceived the project. Yu.Z, M.J., L.J.R., H.H. and J.G. were responsible for most data collection. Yu.Z., P.A. and J.F.L. planned experiments and interpreted the data related to nanonap formulation. H.H., Yi.Z., S.S., T.E.B. and W.C. planned experiments and interpreted the data related to nanonap radiolabelling. Yu.Z., M.J., L.J.R., J.D.H., M.S., C.K. and J.F.L. planned experiments and interpreted the data related to photoacoustic imaging. Yu.Z., J.G. and J.F.L. planned toxicity studies and interpreted the data. Yu.Z., M.J., H.H., J.D.H., W.C., C.K. and J.F.L. wrote the manuscript.

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Corresponding authors

Correspondence to Weibo Cai or Chulhong Kim or Jonathan F. Lovell.

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DOI

https://doi.org/10.1038/nnano.2014.130

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