Investigation of gold nanoparticle accumulation kinetics for effective cancer targeting
Gold nanoparticles (GNP) have been widely used as optical imaging and photothermal therapy agents due to their biocompatibility, simplicity of conjugation chemistry, optical tunability and efficient light conversion to heat. A number of in vitro and in vivo studies have demonstrated that they can be used as effective thermal therapy and imaging contrast agents to treat and diagnose cancer. As clinical applications of GNPs for cancer imaging and therapy have gained interest, efforts for understanding their accumulation kinetics has become more important. Given the recent demonstration of intrinsic two-photon induced photoluminescence (TPIP) of gold nanoshells (GNSs) and gold nanorods (GNRs), TPIP imaging is an efficient tool for investigating the microscopic distribution of the GNPs at intra-organ level. The following work explores these GNPs’ physical and optical properties for effective use of GNPs in TPIP imaging and examines the feasibility of using intrinsic TPIP imaging to investigate GNP’s biodistribution in bulk tumors and thin tissue slices processed for standard histology. Our results showed that GNPs yield a strong TPIP signal, and we found that the direct luminescence-based contrast imaging of GNPs can image both GNPs and nuclei, cytoplasm or vasculature simultaneously. Also, we present the effect of GNP morphology on their distribution within organs. Collected images showed that GNPs had a heterogeneous distribution with higher accumulation at the tumor periphery. However, GNRs had deeper penetration into tumor than GNRs due to their shape and size. In addition, GNPs were observed in unique patterns close to vasculature. Finally, we introduce single- and multiple-dose administrations of GNPs as a way of increasing GNP accumulation in tumor. Our results show that multiple dosing can increase GNP accumulation in tumor 1.6 to 2 times more than single dosing. Histological analysis also demonstrated that there were no signs of acute toxicity in tumor, liver and spleen excised from the mice receiving 1 injection, 5 injections of GNPs and trehalose injection.