Polymeric nanoparticles as OCT contrast agents
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In this study, the optical properties of two nano-sized polymer colloids in optical coherence tomography (OCT) were compared in vitro with respect to their potential use as contrast agents. We used two types of particles: compact hydrophobic spherical polystyrene (PS) particles and soft water-swollen nanogel (NG) particles both with grafted hydrophilic shell, both prepared at two different sizes (PS at 300 and 150 nm, NG at 300 and 200 nm). The OCT backscattering signals of the particles in a vessel-mimicking highly scattering agar/TiO2 phantom were compared on either number of particles or weight percent. Larger particles and higher concentrations produced higher OCT contrast. At each concentration tested, a markedly higher contrast was achieved by PS particles than NG particles. PS particles generated a markedly higher OCT contrast than the phantom at concentrations of at least 1 × 1010 or 0.1 % for PS 300 nm and at least 3 × 1011 particles/mL or 0.4 % for PS 150 nm. The contrast generated by NG 300 nm was above the phantom contrast at concentrations of at least 3 × 1011 particles/mL or 1 %, whereas NG 200 nm only at 4 %. At any given weight percent, the differences in OCT contrast between differently sized particles were much less evident than in the comparison based on particle number. PS 300 nm generated also a good contrast ex vivo on chicken muscle tissue. These results strongly suggest that PS spheres have strong potential as intravascular OCT contrast agent, while NG particles need further contrast enhancer for being used as OCT contrast agent.
KeywordsOptical coherence tomography Polystyrene spheres Nanogels Contrast agent
This research was supported by the German center for interdisciplinary clinical research IZKF and HighTech.NRW/EU-Ziel 2-Programm (EFRE) 2007-2013 (ForSaTum). AP and AB acknowledge financial support provided by Volkswagen Foundation.
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