Purpose: Magnetic iron oxide nanoparticles (MNPs) are used as contrast agents for magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and hyperthermia for cancer treatment. The relationship between MRI signal intensity and cellular iron concentration for many new formulations, particularly MNPs having magnetic properties designed for heating in hyperthermia, is lacking. In this study, we examine the correlation between MRI T2 relaxation time and iron content in cancer cells loaded with various MNP formulations. Materials and methods: Human prostate carcinoma DU-145 cells were loaded with starch-coated bionised nanoferrite (BNF), iron oxide (Nanomag® D-SPIO), Feridex™, and dextran-coated Johns Hopkins University (JHU) particles at a target concentration of 50pg Fe/cell using poly-D-lysine transfection reagent. T2-weighted MRI of serial dilutions of these labelled cells was performed at 9.4T and iron content quantification was performed using inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS). Clonogenic assay was used to characterise cytotoxicity. Results: No cytotoxicity was observed at twice the target intracellular iron concentration (∼100pg Fe/cell). ICP-MS revealed highest iron uptake efficiency with BNF and JHU particles, followed by Feridex and Nanomag-D-SPIO, respectively. Imaging data showed a linear correlation between increased intracellular iron concentration and decreased T2 times, with no apparent correlation among MNP magnetic properties. Conclusions: This study demonstrates that for the range of nanoparticle concentrations internalised by cancer cells the signal intensity of T2-weighted MRI correlates closely with absolute iron concentration associated with the cells. This correlation may benefit applications for cell-based cancer imaging and therapy including nanoparticle-mediated drug delivery and hyperthermia.
- Magnetic iron oxide nanoparticles
- Magnetic nanoparticle hyperthermia
- Magnetic resonance imaging
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research
- Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
- Physiology (medical)