To design a potent agent for positron emission tomography/magnetic resonance imaging (PET/MRI) imaging and targeted magnetic hyperthermia-radioisotope cancer therapy radiolabeled surface modified superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles (SPIONs) were used as nanocarriers. Folic acid was conjugated for increasing selective cellular binding and internalization through receptor-mediated endocytosis. SPIONs were synthesized by the thermal decomposition of tris (acetylacetonato) iron (III) to achieve narrow and uniform nanoparticles. To increase the biocompatibility of SPIONs, they were coated with (3-aminopropyl) triethoxysilane (APTES), and then conjugated with synthesized folic acid-polyethylene glycol (FA-PEG) through amine group of (3-aminopropyl) triethoxysilane. Finally, the particles were labeled with 64Cu (t1/2 = 12.7 h) using 1,4,7,10-tetraazacyclododecane-1,4,7,10-tetraacetic acid mono (N-hydroxy succinimide ester) DOTA-NHS chelator. After the characterization of SPIONs, their cellular internalization was evaluated in folate receptor (FR) overexpressing KB (established from a HeLa cell contamination) and mouse fibroblast cell (MFB) lines. Eventually, active and passive targeting effects of complex were assessed in KB tumor-bearing Balb/C mice through biodistribution studies. Synthesized bare SPIONs had low toxicity effect on healthy cells, but surface modification increased their biocompatibility. Moreover, KB cells viability was reduced when using folate conjugated SPIONs due to FR-mediated endocytosis, while having little effect on healthy cells (MFB). Moreover, this radiotracer had tolerable in vivo characteristics and tumor uptake. In the receptor blocked case, tumor uptake was decreased, indicating FR-specific uptake in tumor tissue while enhanced permeability and retention effect was major mechanism for tumor uptake.
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