Quantitative Assessment of Binding Affinities for Nanoparticles Targeted to Vulnerable Plaque

Tang Tang, Chuqiao Tu, Sarah Y. Chow, Kevin H. Leung, Siyi Du, Angelique Y. Louie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Recent successes in targeted immune and cell-based therapies have driven new directions for pharmaceutical research. With the rise of these new therapies there is an unfilled need for companion diagnostics to assess patients potential for therapeutic response. Targeted nanomaterials have been widely investigated to fill this niche; however, in contrast to small molecule or peptide-based targeted agents, binding affinities are not reported for nanomaterials, and to date there has been no standard, quantitative measure for the interaction of targeted nanoparticle agents with their targets. Without a standard measure, accurate comparisons between systems and optimization of targeting behavior are challenging. Here, we demonstrate a method for quantitative assessment of the binding affinity for targeted nanoparticles to cell surface receptors in living systems and apply it to optimize the development of a novel targeted nanoprobe for imaging vulnerable atherosclerotic plaques. In this work, we developed sulfated dextran-coated iron oxide nanoparticles with specific targeting to macrophages, a cell type whose density strongly correlates with plaque vulnerability. Detailed quantitative, in vitro characterizations of <sup>111</sup>In<sup>3+</sup> radiolabeled probes show high-affinity binding to the macrophage scavenger receptor A (SR-A). Cell uptake studies illustrate that higher surface sulfation levels result in much higher uptake efficiency by macrophages. We use a modified Scatchard analysis to quantitatively describe nanoparticle binding to targeted receptors. This characterization represents a potential new standard metric for targeted nanomaterials.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1086-1094
Number of pages9
JournalBioconjugate Chemistry
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 17 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Bioengineering
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Pharmaceutical Science
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Pharmacology


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