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Non-invasive Lesion Imaging and Delivery of Nano-Therapeutics to the Ischemic Brain

A.O. Choi, F. Vaisheva, G.M. Soliman, D. Maysinger
McGill University, CA

Keywords: ischemic stroke, silent brain infarcts, non-invasive imaging, quantum dots, nano-therapeutics, anti-inflammatory drugs


Silent brain infarcts are often asymptomatic, but these micro-lesions can cause considerable neurodegenerative damage if they remain undetected and untreated. Cells undergo rapid irreversible necrosis at the ischemic core; however, viable cells in the penumbra can be protected and rescued with early interventions. Excessive inflammation has been shown to be a key factor propagating neuronal death in a number of neurodegenerative diseases including ischemic stroke. Inflammatory responses in the central nervous system involve the activation of microglia, which will lead to the release of neurotoxic cytokines. Early detection of the lesion is also essential for effective drug interventions. The goal of this study is to perform non-invasive imaging of cerebral micro-lesions using fluorescent nanocrystals and to deliver nano-therapeutics to the ischemic brain. We show that near-infrared quantum dots, administered in the nasal cavity, localize at brain lesions and can be imaged in vivo. Anti-inflammatory drugs (minocycline and nimodipine), incorporated into polymeric micelles, can be delivered non-invasively to the brain and are effective treatments for ischemic injury. Results from this study point towards the development of a nano-anti-inflammatory theranostic tool, based on fluorescent nanocrystals, for stroke therapy.
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