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Nanomaterials 2018, 8(5), 315; https://doi.org/10.3390/nano8050315

Iron Oxide Colloidal Nanoclusters as Theranostic Vehicles and Their Interactions at the Cellular Level

1
Institute of Electronic Structure and Laser, Foundation for the Research and Technology, Hellas, Vassilika Vouton, 711 10 Heraklion, Greece
2
Institute of Nuclear & Radiological Sciences, Technology, Energy & Safety, NCSR “Demokritos”, 153 41 Aghia Paraskevi, Athens, Greece
3
Department of Biology, University of Crete, Vassilika Vouton, 710 03 Heraklion, Greece
4
Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia, Via Morego 30, 16163 Genova, Italy
5
Université de Strasbourg, CNRS, Institut de Physique et Chimie des Matériaux de Strasbourg, UMR 7504, F-67034 Strasbourg, France
6
Université de Lyon, Université Jean Monnet, EA 3738, Ciblage Thérapeutique en Oncologie, UJM-UCBL-HCL, Hôpital E. Herriot, 5 place d’Arsonval, 69437 Lyon CEDEX 03, France
7
Bioemission Technology Solutions, Alexandras 116, 117 42 Athens, Greece
8
Department of Biomedical Engineering, Technological Educational Institute, 122 10 Egaleo, Athens, Greece
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 16 April 2018 / Revised: 4 May 2018 / Accepted: 4 May 2018 / Published: 9 May 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Magnetic Nanoparticles in Biological Applications)
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Abstract

Advances in surfactant-assisted chemical approaches have led the way for the exploitation of nanoscale inorganic particles in medical diagnosis and treatment. In this field, magnetically-driven multimodal nanotools that perform both detection and therapy, well-designed in size, shape and composition, are highly advantageous. Such a theranostic material—which entails the controlled assembly of smaller (maghemite) nanocrystals in a secondary motif that is highly dispersible in aqueous media—is discussed here. These surface functionalized, pomegranate-like ferrimagnetic nanoclusters (40–85 nm) are made of nanocrystal subunits that show a remarkable magnetic resonance imaging contrast efficiency, which is better than that of the superparamagnetic contrast agent Endorem©. Going beyond this attribute and with their demonstrated low cytotoxicity in hand, we examine the critical interaction of such nanoprobes with cells at different physiological environments. The time-dependent in vivo scintigraphic imaging of mice experimental models, combined with a biodistribution study, revealed the accumulation of nanoclusters in the spleen and liver. Moreover, the in vitro proliferation of spleen cells and cytokine production witnessed a size-selective regulation of immune system cells, inferring that smaller clusters induce mainly inflammatory activities, while larger ones induce anti-inflammatory actions. The preliminary findings corroborate that the modular chemistry of magnetic iron oxide nanoclusters stimulates unexplored pathways that could be driven to alter their function in favor of healthcare. View Full-Text
Keywords: magnetic nanoclusters; multicore particle assembly; MRI contrast agents; scintigraphic imaging; nanoparticle biodistribution; cell interactions; immune system magnetic nanoclusters; multicore particle assembly; MRI contrast agents; scintigraphic imaging; nanoparticle biodistribution; cell interactions; immune system
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Kostopoulou, A.; Brintakis, K.; Fragogeorgi, E.; Anthousi, A.; Manna, L.; Begin-Colin, S.; Billotey, C.; Ranella, A.; Loudos, G.; Athanassakis, I.; Lappas, A. Iron Oxide Colloidal Nanoclusters as Theranostic Vehicles and Their Interactions at the Cellular Level. Nanomaterials 2018, 8, 315.

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