Molecular imaging and quantitative measurement of epidermal growth factor receptor expression in live cancer cells using immunolabeled gold nanoparticles.
OBJECTIVE: The goal of this study was to assess whether immunolabeled nanoparticle biomarkers are comparable to fluorescent marker imaging in measuring epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) expression. MATERIALS AND METHODS: EGFR expression was quantified using both imaging methods in four cell lines: A431 human epidermoid carcinoma cells, which are known to have high EGFR expression; two cell lines with lower EGFR expression (270-GBM human glioblastoma xenograft cells and H2224 human glioblastoma xenograft cells); and MDA-MB-453 breast carcinoma cells, which do not express EGFR. To enhance contrast of the nanoparticle biomarkers, a darkfield microspectroscopy system was used that includes a custom epi-illumination light train. RESULTS: Nanoparticle-bound cells were clearly distinguished from control cells not bound to nanoparticles in that they showed a significant increase in detected intensity under darkfield illumination due to nanoparticle scattering. The average nanoparticle-scattering intensity for A431 cells was 41.5 counts per cell compared with 24.7 for 270-GBM cells, 8.77 for H2224 cells, and 0.44 for MDA-MB-453 cells. The average fluorescence intensity for A431 cells was 35.3 counts per cell compared with 28.7 for 270-GBM cells, 5.91 for H2224 cells, and 2.07 for MDA-MB-453 cells. A plot of fluorescence intensity versus nanoparticle-scattering intensity for all four cell lines showed that the data agree with a linear relationship given by the following equation: NP = 1.0691 x FL - 0.3873, where NP is the nanoparticle-scattering intensity and FL is the fluorescence intensity. The covariance of the data with the trend line was R(2) = 0.9409. The average peak wavelength of nanoparticle scattering was 570.93 nm for A431 cells, 565.26 nm for 270-GBM cells, and 562.70 nm for H2224 cells (with no clear peaks observed for MDA-MB-453 cells). This spectral trend shows that nanoparticle scattering may reveal additional information about their nanoenvironment via refractive index sensitivity. CONCLUSION: Immunolabeled nanoparticles can quantify receptor expression with performance comparable to fluorescence markers and show promise to better characterize receptor expression via their refractive index sensitivity.
Crow, MJ; Grant, G; Provenzale, JM; Wax, A
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