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Selective X-ray contrast enhancement of the spleen of living mice mediated by gold nanorods.

Contrast media & molecular imaging (2014-08-30)
Connor A Wathen, Chuck Caldwell, Nripen Chanda, Anandhi Upendran, Ajit Zambre, Zahra Afrasiabi, Sarah E Chapaman, Nathan Foje, W Matthew Leevy, Raghuraman Kannan
ABSTRACT

Gold nanomaterials (AuNPs) represent a promising new class of contrast agents for X-ray computed tomographic (CT) imaging in both research and clinical settings. These materials exhibit superior X-ray absorption properties compared with other iodinated agents, and thus require lower injection doses. Gold is nonimmunogenic and therefore contributes to safety profile in living specimens. Unfortunately, most reports on the use of AuNPs as X-ray CT enhancers only demonstrate marginal enhancement of the intended anatomical structure. In this study, we demonstrate the dramatic properties of gold nanorods (GNR) to serve as robust X-ray CT contrast-enhancing agent for selective imaging of the spleen. These organ-specific uptake properties were delineated by performing longitudinal CT imaging of living mice that were dosed with GNR at 2 day intervals. Rapid uptake in spleen was noted within 12 h of first systemic administration with a change in contrast enhancement of 90 Hounsfield units (ΔHU = 90) and with two subsequent injections a total contrast enhancement of over 200 HU was observed. The resulting images provide excellent contrast that will enable the detailed anatomical visualization and study of a range of pre-clinical models of spleen disease including infection and cancer.

MATERIALS
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