Rationale: Magnetic relaxation switching (MRSw) induced by target-triggered aggregation or dissociation of superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles (SPIONs) have been utilized for detection of diverse biomarkers. However, an MRSw-based biosensor for reactive oxygen species (ROS) has never been documented. Methods: To this end, we constructed a biosensor for ROS detection based on PEGylated bilirubin (PEG-BR)-coated SPIONs (PEG-BR@SPIONs) that were prepared by simple sonication via ligand exchange. In addition, near infra-red (NIR) fluorescent dye was loaded onto PEG-BR@SPIONs as a secondary option for fluorescence-based ROS detection. Results: PEG-BR@SPIONs showed high colloidal stability under physiological conditions, but upon exposure to the model ROS, NaOCl, in vitro, they aggregated, causing a decrease in signal intensity in T2-weighted MR images. Furthermore, ROS-responsive PEG-BR@SPIONs were taken up by lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-activated macrophages to a much greater extent than ROS-unresponsive control nanoparticles (PEG-DSPE@SPIONs). In a sepsis-mimetic clinical setting, PEG-BR@SPIONs were able to directly detect the concentrations of ROS in whole blood samples through a clear change in T2 MR signals and a 'turn-on' signal of fluorescence. Conclusions: These findings suggest that PEG-BR@SPIONs have the potential as a new type of dual mode (MRSw-based and fluorescence-based) biosensors for ROS detection and could be used to diagnose many diseases associated with ROS overproduction.
- Bilirubin nanoparticles
- Iron oxide nanoparticles
- Magnetic relaxation switching
- Reactive oxygen species
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Medicine (miscellaneous)
- Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics (miscellaneous)