Fibrin-targeted perfluorocarbon nanoparticles for targeted thrombolysis

J. N. Marsh, A. Senpan, G. Hu, M. J. Scott, P. J. Gaffney, S. A. Wickline, G. M. Lanza

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

107 Scopus citations


Background: Reperfusion of the ischemic brain is the most effective therapy for acute stroke, restoring blood flow to threatened tissues. Thrombolytics, such as recombinant tissue plasminogen activator, administered within 3 h of symptom onset can improve neurologic outcome, although the potential for adverse hemorrhagic events limits its use to less than 3% of acute ischemic stroke patients. Targeting of clot-dissolving therapeutics has the potential to decrease the frequency of complications while simultaneously increasing treatment effectiveness, by concentrating the available drug at the desired site and permitting a lower systemic dose. Objectives: We aimed to develop a fibrin-specific, liquid perfluorocarbon nanoparticle that is surface modified to deliver the plasminogen activator streptokinase. We also aimed to evaluate its effectiveness for targeted thrombolysis in vitro using quantitative acoustic microscopy. Methods: Human plasma clots were formed in vitro and targeted with streptokinase-loaded nanoparticles, or a mixture of both. Depending on the treatment group, clots were then exposed to either phosphate-buffered saline (PBS), PBS with plasminogen or PBS with plasminogen and free streptokinase. Spatially registered ultrasound scans were performed at 15-min intervals for 1 h to quantify changes in clot morphology and backscatter. Results: Nanoparticles bound to the clot significantly increased the acoustic contrast of the targeted clot surface, permitting volumetric estimates. Profile plots of detected clot surfaces demonstrated that streptokinase-loaded, fibrin-targeted perfluoro-octylbromide nanoparticles in the presence of plasminogen induced rapid fibrinolysis (<60 min) without concurrent microbubble production and cavitation. Streptokinase-loaded or fibrin-targeted control nanoparticles insonified in PBS did not induce clot lysis. Morphologic changes in the treated group were accompanied by temporal and spatial changes in backscatter. Ultrasound exposure had no effect on the digestion process. Effective concentrations of targeted streptokinase were orders of magnitude lower than equivalently efficacious levels of free drug. Moreover, increasing competitive inhibition of fibrin-bound streptokinase nanoparticles reduced clot lysis in a monotonic fashion. As little as 1% surface targeting of streptokinase nanoparticles produced significant decreases in clot volumes (∼30%) in 1. h. Conclusion: This new nanoparticle-based thrombolytic agent provides specific and rapid fibrinolysis in vitro and may have a clinical role in early reperfusion during acute ischemic stroke.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)533-543
Number of pages11
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2007


  • Contrast
  • Nanoparticle
  • Perfluorocarbon
  • Stroke
  • Targeting
  • Thrombolysis


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