Khademi, S., Sarkar, S., Shakeri-Zadeh, A., Attaran, N., Kharrazi, S., Ay, M.R., Ghadiri, H.
Development of various cost-effective multifunctional nanoprobes for efficient targeted molecular imaging of tumors remains a great challenge in medicine. Herein, we report a simple method of forming folic acid-targeted multifunctional gold nanoparticles via cost-effective cysteamine as a template for tumor molecular computed tomography (CT) imaging technique. The formed multifunctional cysteamine-folic acid conjugated gold nanoparticles (FA-Cys-AuNPs) were characterized via different techniques. Colony assay, hematoxylin and eosin (H&E), MTT, and flow cytometry analysis were used to evaluate the cytocompatibility of the particles. We showed that the formed FA-Cys-AuNPs with an Au core size of ~15 nm are non-cytotoxic in a given concentration range and revealed greater X-ray attenuation intensity than iodine-based contrast agent under the same concentration of the active element. At 80 kVp, FA-Cys-AuNPs enable 1.77-times greater contrast per unit mass compared with iodine at a concentration of 2000 μg/ml, and importantly, the developed FA-Cys-AuNPs can be used as a contrast media for targeted CT imaging of folic acid receptor-expressing cancer cells in vitro. CT values of the targeted cells were 2-times higher than that of non-targeted cells at 80 kVp. These findings propose that the designed FA-Cys-AuNPs can be used as a promising contrast agent for molecular CT imaging. This data can be also considered for the application of gold nanostructures in radiation dose enhancement where nanoparticles with high X-ray attenuation are applied.