Targeted Nanocarriers for Imaging and Therapy of Vascular Inflammation

Curr Opin Colloid Interface Sci. 2011 Jun;16(3):215-227. doi: 10.1016/j.cocis.2011.01.008.


Vascular inflammation is a common, complex mechanism involved in pathogenesis of a plethora of disease conditions including ischemia-reperfusion, atherosclerosis, restenosis and stroke. Specific targeting of imaging probes and drugs to endothelial cells in inflammation sites holds promise to improve management of these conditions. Nanocarriers of diverse compositions and geometries, targeted with ligands to endothelial adhesion molecules exposed in inflammation foci are devised for this goal. Imaging modalities that employ these nanoparticle probes include radioisotope imaging, MRI and ultrasound that are translatable from animal to human studies, as well as optical imaging modalities that at the present time are more confined to animal studies. Therapeutic cargoes for these drug delivery systems include diverse anti-inflammatory agents, anti-proliferative drugs for prevention of restenosis, and antioxidants. This article reviews recent advances in the area of image-guided translation of targeted nanocarrier diagnostics and therapeutics in nanomedicine.