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Monoclonal antibodies conjugated with superparamagnetic iron oxide particles allow magnetic resonance imaging detection of lymphocytes in the mouse brain

Luchetti, A;Milani, D;Ruffini, F;Galli, R;Falini, A;Quattrini, A;Scotti, G;Comi, G;Martino, G;Furlan, R;Politi, LS;

We investigated the potential of antibody-vectorialized superparamagnetic iron oxide (SPIO) particles as cellular specific magnetic resonance contrast agents to image lymphocyte populations within the central nervous system (CNS), with the final goal of obtaining a reliable tool for noninvasively detecting and tracking specific cellular populations in vivo. We used superparamagnetic particles bound to a monoclonal antibody. The particle is the contrast agent, by means of its T* relaxation properties; the antibody is the targeting vector, responsible for homing the particle to target a surface antigen. To investigate the efficiency of particle vectorialization by these antibodies, we compared two types of antibody-vectorialized CD3-specific particles in vivo. We successfully employed vectorialized SPIO particles to image B220 cells in a murine model of B-cell lymphoma. Likewise, we were able to identify CD3 infiltrates in a murine model of multiple sclerosis. The specificity of the technique was confirmed by immunohistochemistry and electron microscopy of corresponding sections. Our findings suggest that indirect binding of the antibody to a streptavidinated particle allows for enhanced particle vectorialization compared to covalent binding of the antibody to the particle.