Sensitive, specific, and noninvasive detection of angiogenesis would be helpful in discovering new strategies for the treatment of cardiovascular diseases. Recently, we reported the 64Cu-labeled C-type atrial natriuretic factor (CANF) fragment for detecting the upregulation of natriuretic peptide clearance receptor (NPR-C) with PET on atherosclerosis-like lesions in an animal model. However, it is unknown whether NPR-C is present and overexpressed during angiogenesis. The goal of this study was to develop a novel CANF-integrated nanoprobe to prove the presence of NPR-C and offer sensitive detection with PET during development of angiogenesis in mouse hind limb. Methods: We prepared a multifunctional, core-shell nanoparticle consisting of DOTA chelators attached to a poly(methyl methacrylate) core and CANF-targeting moieties attached to poly(ethylene glycol) chain ends in the shell of the nanoparticle. Labeling of this nanoparticle with 64Cu yielded a high-specific-activity nanoprobe for PET imaging NPR-C receptor in a mouse model of hind limb ischemia-induced angiogenesis. Histology and immunohistochemistry were performed to assess angiogenesis development and NPR-C localization. Results: 15O-H 2O imaging showed blood flow restoration in the previously ischemic hind limb, consistent with the development of angiogenesis. The targeted DOTA-CANF-comb nanoprobe showed optimized pharmacokinetics and biodistribution. PET imaging demonstrated significantly higher tracer accumulation for the targeted DOTA-CANF-comb nanoprobe than for either the CANF peptide tracer or the nontargeted control nanoprobe (P < 0.05, both). Immunohistochemistry confirmed NPR-C upregulation in the angiogenic lesion with colocalization in both endothelial and smooth muscle cells. PET and immunohistochemistry competitive receptor blocking verified the specificity of the targeted nanoprobe to NPR-C receptor. Conclusion: As evidence of its translational potential, this customized DOTA-CANF-comb nanoprobe demonstrated superiority over the CANF peptide alone for imaging NPR-C receptor in angiogenesis.
- Molecular imaging
- Natriuretic peptide clearance receptor
- Positron emission tomography