Honorius M. H. F. Sanders1,2, M. Iafisco3, E. M. Pouget2, P. H. H. Bomans2, F. Nudelman2, G. Fallini3, G. de With2, Maarten Merkx4, N. A. J. M. Sommerdijk2, Gustav J. Strijkers1, Klaas Nicolay1
1Biomedical NMR, Department of Biomedical Engineering, Eindhoven University of Technology, Eindhoven, Netherlands; 2Laboratory of Materials & Interface Chemistry, Department of Chemistry, Eindhoven University of Technology, Eindhoven, Netherlands; 3Universit del Piemonte Orientale, Novara, Italy; 4Biomedical Chemistry, Department of Biomedical Engineering, Eindhoven University of Technology, Eindhoven, Netherlands
Collagen imaging can contribute to improved diagnosis and therapy of various diseases. Recently, CNA-35 conjugated paramagnetic micelles and liposomes were introduced as collagen-specific MRI contrast agents. Here we tested the hypothesis that these nanoparticles primarily bind to single collagen triple helices rather than mature collagen fibrils, and thus could provide unique tools for MR imaging of disease processes that involve active collagen remodeling. With the use of cryo-TEM, we indeed demonstrate that CNA-35 bearing liposomes and micelles selectively bind to poorly assembled collagen, whereas the monomeric CNA-35 protein also binds to ordered collagen fibrils.