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Investigation of the elimination process of a multimodal polymer-shelled contrast agent in rats using ultrasound and transmission electron microscopy


BACKGROUND: A novel polymer-shelled contrast agent (CA) with multimodal imaging and target specific potential was developed recently and tested for its acoustical properties using different in-vitro setups.

OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to investigate the elimination of three types of the novel polymer-shelled CA, one unmodified and two shell modified versions, in rats.

METHODS: The blood elimination time was estimated by measuring the image intensity, from ultrasound images of the common carotid artery, over time after a bolus injection of the three types of the novel CA. The commercially available CA SonoVue was used as a reference. The subcellular localization of the three CAs was investigated using transmission electron microscopy.

RESULTS: The ultrasound measurements indicated a blood half-life of 17–85 s for the different types of the novel CA, which was significant longer than the blood half-life time for SonoVue. Additionally, CAs were exclusively found in the circulatory system, either taken up by, or found in the vicinity of macrophages.

CONCLUSIONS: Compared to the commercially available CA SonoVue, the blood circulation times for the three types of the novel polymer-shelled CA were prolonged. Moreover, macrophages were suggested to be responsible for the elimination of the CA.