Blood-pool contrast agent for pre-clinical computed tomography
Progress in Biomedical Optics and Imaging - Proceedings of SPIE
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Advances in nanotechnology have led to the development of blood-pool contrast agents for micro-computed tomography (micro-CT). Although long-circulating nanoparticle-based agents exist for micro-CT, they are predominantly based on iodine, which has a low atomic number. Micro-CT contrast increases when using elements with higher atomic numbers (i.e. lanthanides), particularly at higher energies. The purpose of our work was to develop and evaluate a lanthanide-based blood-pool contrast agent that is suitable for in vivo micro-CT. We synthesized a contrast agent in the form of polymer-encapsulated Gd nanoparticles and evaluated its stability in vitro. The synthesized nanoparticles were shown to have an average diameter of 127 ± 6 nm, with good size dispersity. Particle size distribution - evaluated by dynamic light scattering over the period of two days - demonstrated no change in size of the contrast agent in water and saline. Additionally, our contrast agent was stable in a mouse serum mimic for up to 30 minutes. CT images of the synthesized contrast agent (containing 27 mg/mL of Gd) demonstrated an attenuation of over 1000 Hounsfield Units. This approach to synthesizing a Gd-based blood-pool contrast agent promises to enhance the capabilities of micro-CT imaging.