Targeting angiogenesis using a C-type atrial natriuretic factor-conjugated nanoprobe and PET

Yongjian Liu, Eric D. Pressly, Dana R. Abendschein, Craig J. Hawker, Geoffrey E. Woodard, Pamela K. Woodard, Michael J. Welch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

47 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1956-1963
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Nuclear Medicine
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1 2011


  • Angiogenesis
  • Molecular imaging
  • Nanoparticle
  • Natriuretic peptide clearance receptor
  • Positron emission tomography

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