Recent advancements in imaging diagnostics have focused on the use of nanostructures that entrap Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) Contrast Agents (CAs), without the need to chemically modify the clinically approved compounds. Nevertheless, the exploitation of microfluidic platforms for their controlled and continuous production is still missing. Here, a microfluidic platform is used to synthesize crosslinked Hyaluronic Acid NanoParticles (cHANPs) in which a clinically relevant MRI-CAs, gadolinium diethylenetriamine penta-acetic acid (Gd-DTPA), is entrapped. This microfluidic process facilitates a high degree of control over particle synthesis, enabling the production of monodisperse particles as small as 35 nm. Furthermore, the interference of Gd-DTPA during polymer precipitation is overcome by finely tuning process parameters and leveraging the use of hydrophilic-lipophilic balance (HLB) of surfactants and pH conditions. For both production strategies proposed to design Gd-loaded cHANPs, a boosting of the relaxation rate T1 is observed since a T1 of 1562 is achieved with a 10 μM of Gd-loaded cHANPs while a similar value is reached with 100 μM of the relevant clinical Gd-DTPA in solution. The advanced microfluidic platform to synthesize intravascularly-injectable and completely biocompatible hydrogel nanoparticles entrapping clinically approved CAs enables the implementation of straightforward and scalable strategies in diagnostics and therapy applications.
- Journal Article