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Special Issue "Molecular Imaging in Nanomedical Research"

A special issue of International Journal of Molecular Sciences (ISSN 1422-0067). This special issue belongs to the section "Biochemistry".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 April 2021.

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Dr. Manuela Malatesta
Website
Guest Editor
Department of Neurosciences, Biomedicine and Movement Sciences, University of Verona, Verona, Italy
Interests: nanomedicine; muscle atrophy/dystrophy; ageing; cell/tissue regeneration; hypometabolism
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Since the 1990s, nanomedicine has dealt with the development of nanomaterials for diagnostics or therapy. Especially in the last decade, the progress of nanomedical research took advantage of the widespread application in vitro and in vivo of imaging techniques for the characterization and preclinical/clinical testing of nanomedical tools. Light and electron microscopy, magnetic resonance imaging, optical imaging, positron emission tomography, and ultrasound imaging have mostly been used, while other imaging techniques have been originally applied to nanomedical issues, often adapting conventional methods to particular purposes; this has allowed us to successfully describe the biodistribution, targeting, efficacy and clearance of novel nanoconstructs in single cells, tissues, organs or the whole organisms.

This Special Issue will collect research and review articles as well as methodological papers to give a comprehensive overview of the role of imaging techniques for studying the structural and functional interactions of the nanoconstructs with the living systems. All researchers involved in nanomedical research (chemists, physicists, pharmacologists, biotechnologists, biologists, physicians) are invited to submit their manuscripts.

Prof. Dr. Manuela Malatesta
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. International Journal of Molecular Sciences is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. There is an Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal. For details about the APC please see here. Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Nanoparticle biodistribution
  • Light microscopy
  • Confocal fluorescence microscopy
  • Super-resolution microscopy
  • Electron microscopy
  • Scanning probe microscopy
  • Magnetic resonance imaging
  • Optical imaging
  • Positron emission tomography
  • Ultrasound imaging

Published Papers (4 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
An In Vivo Study of a Rat Fluid-Percussion-Induced Traumatic Brain Injury Model with [11C]PBR28 and [18F]flumazenil PET Imaging
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(2), 951; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms22020951 - 19 Jan 2021
Abstract
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) modelled by lateral fluid percussion-induction (LFPI) in rats is a widely used experimental rodent model to explore and understand the underlying cellular and molecular alterations in the brain caused by TBI in humans. Current improvements in imaging with positron [...] Read more.
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) modelled by lateral fluid percussion-induction (LFPI) in rats is a widely used experimental rodent model to explore and understand the underlying cellular and molecular alterations in the brain caused by TBI in humans. Current improvements in imaging with positron emission tomography (PET) have made it possible to map certain features of TBI-induced cellular and molecular changes equally in humans and animals. The PET imaging technique is an apt supplement to nanotheranostic-based treatment alternatives that are emerging to tackle TBI. The present study aims to investigate whether the two radioligands, [11C]PBR28 and [18F]flumazenil, are able to accurately quantify in vivo molecular-cellular changes in a rodent TBI-model for two different biochemical targets of the processes. In addition, it serves to observe any palpable variations associated with primary and secondary injury sites, and in the affected versus the contralateral hemispheres. As [11C]PBR28 is a radioligand of the 18 kD translocator protein, the up-regulation of which is coupled to the level of neuroinflammation in the brain, and [18F]flumazenil is a radioligand for GABAA-benzodiazepine receptors, whose level mirrors interneuronal activity and eventually cell death, the use of the two radioligands may reveal two critical features of TBI. An up-regulation in the [11C]PBR28 uptake triggered by the LFP in the injured (right) hemisphere was noted on day 14, while the uptake of [18F]flumazenil was down-regulated on day 14. When comparing the left (contralateral) and right (LFPI) hemispheres, the differences between the two in neuroinflammation were obvious. Our results demonstrate a potential way to measure the molecular alterations in a rodent-based TBI model using PET imaging with [11C]PBR28 and [18F]flumazenil. These radioligands are promising options that can be eventually used in exploring the complex in vivo pharmacokinetics and delivery mechanisms of nanoparticles in TBI treatment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular Imaging in Nanomedical Research)
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Open AccessArticle
Identification of Lymphatic and Hematogenous Routes of Rapidly Labeled Radioactive and Fluorescent Exosomes through Highly Sensitive Multimodal Imaging
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(21), 7850; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms21217850 - 22 Oct 2020
Cited by 2
Abstract
There has been considerable interest in the clinical use of exosomes as delivery vehicles for treatments as well as for promising diagnostic biomarkers, but the physiological distribution of exosomes must be further elucidated to validate their efficacy and safety. Here, we aimed to [...] Read more.
There has been considerable interest in the clinical use of exosomes as delivery vehicles for treatments as well as for promising diagnostic biomarkers, but the physiological distribution of exosomes must be further elucidated to validate their efficacy and safety. Here, we aimed to develop novel methods to monitor exosome biodistribution in vivo using positron emission tomography (PET) and optical imaging. Exosomes were isolated from cultured mouse breast cancer cells and labeled for PET and optical imaging. In mice, radiolabeled and fluorescently labeled exosomes were injected both via lymphatic and hematogenous metastatic routes. PET and fluorescence images were obtained and quantified. Radioactivity and fluorescence intensity of ex vivo organs were measured. PET signals from exosomes in the lymphatic metastatic route were observed in the draining sentinel lymph nodes. Immunohistochemistry revealed greater exosome uptake in brachial and axillary versus inguinal lymph nodes. Following administration through the hematogenous metastasis pathway, accumulation of exosomes was clearly observed in the lungs, liver, and spleen. Exosomes from tumor cells were successfully labeled with 64Cu (or 68Ga) and fluorescence and were visualized via PET and optical imaging, suggesting that this simultaneous and rapid labeling method could provide valuable information for further exosome translational research and clinical applications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular Imaging in Nanomedical Research)
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Review

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Open AccessReview
Cell-Based Tracers as Trojan Horses for Image-Guided Surgery
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(2), 755; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms22020755 - 13 Jan 2021
Abstract
Surgeons rely almost completely on their own vision and palpation to recognize affected tissues during surgery. Consequently, they are often unable to distinguish between different cells and tissue types. This makes accurate and complete resection cumbersome. Targeted image-guided surgery (IGS) provides a solution [...] Read more.
Surgeons rely almost completely on their own vision and palpation to recognize affected tissues during surgery. Consequently, they are often unable to distinguish between different cells and tissue types. This makes accurate and complete resection cumbersome. Targeted image-guided surgery (IGS) provides a solution by enabling real-time tissue recognition. Most current targeting agents (tracers) consist of antibodies or peptides equipped with a radiolabel for Positron Emission Tomography (PET) and Single Photon Emission Computed Tomography (SPECT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) labels, or a near-infrared fluorescent (NIRF) dye. These tracers are preoperatively administered to patients, home in on targeted cells or tissues, and are visualized in the operating room via dedicated imaging systems. Instead of using these ‘passive’ tracers, there are other, more ‘active’ approaches of probe delivery conceivable by using living cells (macrophages/monocytes, neutrophils, T cells, mesenchymal stromal cells), cell(-derived) fragments (platelets, extracellular vesicles (exosomes)), and microorganisms (bacteria, viruses) or, alternatively, ‘humanized’ nanoparticles. Compared with current tracers, these active contrast agents might be more efficient for the specific targeting of tumors or other pathological tissues (e.g., atherosclerotic plaques). This review provides an overview of the arsenal of possibilities applicable for the concept of cell-based tracers for IGS. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular Imaging in Nanomedical Research)
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Open AccessReview
In Vivo Tracking of Extracellular Vesicles by Nuclear Imaging: Advances in Radiolabeling Strategies
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(24), 9443; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms21249443 - 11 Dec 2020
Abstract
Extracellular vesicles (EVs) are naturally secreted vesicles that have attracted a large amount of interest in nanomedicine in recent years due to their innate biocompatibility, high stability, low immunogenicity, and important role in cell-to-cell communication during pathological processes. Their versatile nature holds great [...] Read more.
Extracellular vesicles (EVs) are naturally secreted vesicles that have attracted a large amount of interest in nanomedicine in recent years due to their innate biocompatibility, high stability, low immunogenicity, and important role in cell-to-cell communication during pathological processes. Their versatile nature holds great potential to improve the treatment of several diseases through their use as imaging biomarkers, therapeutic agents, and drug-delivery vehicles. However, the clinical translation of EV-based approaches requires a better understanding of their in vivo behavior. Several imaging technologies have been used for the non-invasive in vivo tracking of EVs, with a particular emphasis on nuclear imaging due to its high sensitivity, unlimited penetration depth and accurate quantification. In this article, we will review the biological function and inherent characteristics of EVs and provide an overview of molecular imaging modalities used for their in vivo monitoring, with a special focus on nuclear imaging. The advantages of radionuclide-based imaging modalities make them a promising tool to validate the use of EVs in the clinical setting, as they have the potential to characterize in vivo the pharmacokinetics and biological behavior of the vesicles. Furthermore, we will discuss the current methods available for radiolabeling EVs, such as covalent binding, encapsulation or intraluminal labeling and membrane radiolabeling, reporting the advantages and drawbacks of each radiolabeling approach. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular Imaging in Nanomedical Research)
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