Conquering the dark side: Colloidal iron oxide nanoparticles

Angana Senpan, Shelton D. Caruthers, Ilsu Rhee, Nicholas A. Mauro, Dipanjan Pan, Grace Hu, Michael J. Scott, Ralph W. Fuhrhop, Patrick J. Gaffney, Samuel A. Wickline, Gregory M. Lanza

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

83 Scopus citations


Nanomedicine approaches to atherosclerotic disease will have significant impact on the practice and outcomes of cardiovascular medicine. Iron oxide nanoparticles have been extensively used for nontargeted and targeted imaging applications based upon highly sensitive T2 * imaging properties, which typically result in negative contrast effects that can only be imaged 24 or more hours after systemic administration due to persistent blood pool interference. Although recent advances involving MR pulse sequences have converted these dark contrast voxels into bright ones, the marked delays in imaging from persistent magnetic background interference and prominent dipole blooming effects of the magnetic susceptibility remain barriers to overcome. We report a T1-weighted (T1w) theranostic colloidal iron oxide nanoparticle platform, CION, which is achieved by entrapping oleate-coated magnetite particles within a cross-linked phospholipid nanoemulsion. Contrary to expectations, this formulation decreased T2 effects thus allowing positive T1w contrast detection down to low nanomolar concentrations. CION, a vascular constrained nanoplatform administered in vivo permitted T1w molecular imaging 1 h after treatment without blood pool interference, although some T2 shortening effects on blood, induced by the superparamagnetic particles, persisted. Moreover, CION was shown to encapsulate antiangiogenic drugs, like fumagillin, and retained them under prolonged dissolution, suggesting significant theranostic functionality. Overall, CION is a platform technology, developed with generally recognized as safe components, that overcomes the temporal and spatial imaging challenges associated with current iron oxide nanoparticle T2 imaging agents and which has theranostic potential in vascular diseases for detecting unstable ruptured plaque or treating atherosclerotic angiogenesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3917-3926
Number of pages10
JournalACS nano
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 22 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Materials Science
  • General Engineering
  • General Physics and Astronomy


Dive into the research topics of 'Conquering the dark side: Colloidal iron oxide nanoparticles'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this