Development of a nanoparticle-based CT imaging technique for in-vivo tracking of protein microspheres
Alzheimer disease (AD) is a neurodegenerative disorder that affects millions of people around the world and currently has no cure. AD is identified by amyloid beta (Aβ) deposits in the brain. Recently it has been suggested that accumulation of Aβ in the brain is caused by defective clearance of Aβ in the peripheral blood. It has been shown that reduction of Aβ in the periphery reduces Aβ in the brain. Prof. Rahimipour lab from Bar-Ilan University developed protein microspheres that bind to Aβ in the blood and prevent them from accumulating in the brain, thus they have the potential to inhibit Aβ aggregation and neurotoxicity in the brain.
In order to continue and investigate the therapeutic effect of these protein microspheres, it is essential to study their biodistribution and pharmacokinetics in vivo. Therefore, the main goal of the present study was to demonstrate the potential use of gold nanoparticles (GNP's) as a novel contrast agent for longitudinal tracking of protein microspheres in vivo. The technique is based on the density property of GNP's in which they can easily be detected by computed tomography (CT). In this research, different types of GNP's were uploaded into protein microspheres, injected into mice and scanned by a CT.
The results clearly demonstrate that the GNP’s uploaded protein microspheres still circulate in the blood after 24 hours. This technique, which provides at least 24 hours tracking of the microspheres, will allow further development the microspheres as a treatment for AD. We expect these protein microspheres to become a drug that prevents further Aβ deposition in the brain, and as a consequence stop the deterioration of AD.
* The work was carried out towards the M.Sc. degree in the Faculty of Engineering, Bar-Ilan University, with the supervision of Prof. Rachela Popovtzer