Background: To develop liposomes loaded with iodinated agents as nanosized CT/MRI bimodal contrast agents for monitoring liposome-mediated drug delivery. Methods: Rhodamine-labeled iodixanol (VisipaqueTM)-loaded liposomes (IX-lipo) were prepared and tested for their properties as a diamagnetic CEST contrast agent in vitro. Mice bearing subcutaneous CT26 colon tumors were injected i.v. with 1 g/kg (535 mg iodine/kg) IX-lipo, and in vivo CT and CEST MR images were acquired on day 3. CT and CEST MR images were also acquired for tumor-bearing mice co-injected with IX-lipo and tumor necrosis factor (TNF-α). Results: In addition to CT contrast, IX-lipo exhibited a strong CEST contrast similar to its non-liposomal form, with a detectability of ~2 nM per liposome. Both CT imaging and CEST MRI showed that i.v. injection of IX-lipo resulted in a rim enhancement of CT26 tumors with a heterogeneous central distribution. In contrast, coinjection of TNF-α caused a significantly augmented CT/MRI contrast in the tumor center. The intratumoral biodistribution of IX-lipo correlated well to the rhodamine patterns observed with fluorescence microscopy. Conclusions: We have developed a CT/MRI bimodal imaging approach for monitoring the delivery and biodistribution of liposomes by loading them with the clinically approved X-ray/CT contrast agent iodixanol. Our approach may be easily adapted for other-FDA approved iodinated agents and thus has great translational potential.
- Chemical exchange saturation transfer magnetic resonance imaging (CEST MRI)
- Computed tomography (CT)
- Enhanced permeability and retention effect (EPR effect)
- Vascular-targeting therapy
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging