Magnetite-arginine nanoparticles as a multifunctional biomedical tool

Iron oxide nanoparticles are a promising platform for biomedical applications, both in terms of diagnostics and therapeutics. In addition, arginine-rich polypeptides are known to penetrate across cell membranes. Here, we thus introduce a system based on magnetite nanoparticles and the polypeptide poly-l-arginine (polyR-Fe3O4). We show that the hybrid nanoparticles exhibit a low cytotoxicity that is comparable to Resovist®, a commercially available drug. PolyR-Fe3O4 particles perform very well in diagnostic applications, such as magnetic particle imaging (1.7 and 1.35 higher signal respectively for the 3rd and 11th harmonic when compared to Resovist®), or as contrast agents for magnetic resonance imaging (R2/R1 ratio of 17 as compared to 11 at 0.94 T for Resovist®). Moreover, these novel particles can also be used for therapeutic purposes such as hyperthermia, achieving a specific heating power ratio of 208 W/g as compared to 83 W/g for Feridex®, another commercially available product. Therefore, we envision such materials to play a role in the future theranostic applications, where the arginine ability to deliver cargo into the cell can be coupled to the magnetite imaging properties and cancer fighting activity.


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