Ratiometric in vivo auditioning of targeted silver nanoparticles.

PMID 28695222


Attaching affinity ligands to nanoparticles (NPs) increases selectivity for targeting cells and tissues, and can result in improved sensitivity and reduced off-target toxicity in diagnostic and therapeutic systems. The decision over key features - NP size, shape, coating strategies and targeting ligands for clinical translation is often hampered by a lack of quantitative in vivo NP homing assays. Sensitive, internally controlled assays are needed which allow for quantitative comparisons (auditions) among various formulations of targeted NPs. We recently reported the development of peptide-functionalized, isotopically-barcoded silver NPs (AgNPs) for ultrasensitive studies centered on measuring relative ratios of NP internalization into cultured cells. Here we evaluated the application of this technology for NP homing studies in live mice using peptides with previously described tissue tropism; one peptide that favors vascular beds of the normal lungs (RPARPAR; receptor neuropilin-1, or NRP-1) and another that is selective for central nervous system vessels (CAGALCY). Equimolar mixtures of the peptide-targeted Ag107-NPs and Ag109 control particles were mixed and injected intravenously. Distribution profiles of Ag107 and Ag109 in tissue extracts were determined simultaneously through inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS). Compared to non-targeted particles up to ∼9-fold increased lung accumulation was seen for RPARPAR-OH AgNPs (but not for AgNPs functionalized with RPARPAR-NH