Exploring the usability of α-MSH-SM-liposome as an imaging agent to study biodegradable bone implants in vivo


Novel biodegradable metal alloys are increasingly used as implant materials. The implantation can be accompanied by an inflammatory response to a foreign object. For studying inflammation in the implantation area, non-invasive imaging methods are needed. In vivo imaging for the implanted area and its surroundings will provide beneficiary information to understand implant-related inflammation and help to monitor it. Therefore, inflammation-sensitive fluorescent liposomes in rats were tested in the presence of an implant to evaluate their usability in studying inflammation. The sphingomyelin-containing liposomes carrying alpha-melanocyte-stimulating hormone (α-MSH)-peptide were tested in a rat bone implant model. The liposome interaction with implant material (Mg-10Gd) was analyzed with Mg-based implant material (Mg-10Gd) in vitro. The liposome uptake process was studied in the bone-marrow-derived macrophages in vitro. Finally, this liposomal tracer was tested in vivo. It was found that α-MSH coupled sphingomyelin-containing liposomes and the Mg-10Gd implant did not have any disturbing influence on each other. The clearance of liposomes was observed in the presence of an inert and biodegradable implant. The degradable Mg-10Gd was used as an alloy example; however, the presented imaging system offers a new possible use of α-MSH-SM-liposomes as tools for investigating implant responses.