Near-infrared dye-loaded PLGA nanoparticles prepared by spray drying for photoacoustic applications


Introduction: Nanoparticulate contrast agents are of great interest for diagnostic applications with high resolution in medicine. Here we present polymer-based degradable nanoparticles exhibiting a near infrared (NIR) absorption suitable for photoacoustic imaging. Methods: The nanoparticles were prepared by incorporation of indocyanine green (ICG) as NIR dye in poly[(rac-lactide)-co-glycolide] (PLGA) via an optimized spray drying process. By application of a multi-step centrifugation protocol, two different size fractions were achieved. The biocompatibitilty of the nanoparticles was tested in 2D cell cultures (human hepatocarcinoma cells and monkey kidney cells) using WST-1, BrdU and LDH assay. Results: Spherical particles were obtained with a good yield (>81%), showing a high NIR-dye encapsulation efficiency (>98%). By multi-step centrifugation, two different size fractions with a mean diameter of 640 nm and 390 nm were obtained. Cytotoxicity studies of the synthesized ICG-loaded PLGA particles were performed. No cytotoxic effect on metabolic activity, proliferation, or membrane integrity was observed. Conclusion: The high optical absorption at the relevant NIR-wavelength around 800 nm in combination with absence of cytotoxicity qualifies the ICG-loaded PLGA particles as promising candidates for degradable photoacoustic contrast agents.
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