Calcium phosphate cement (CPC) is used in bone repair because of its biocompatibility. However, high similarity between CPC and the natural osseous phase results in poor image contrast in most of the available in vivo imaging techniques such as computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). For accurate identification and localization during and after implantation in vivo, a composition with enhanced image contrast is needed. In this study, we labeled CPC with perfluoro-15-crown-5-ether-loaded (PFCE) poly(latic-co-glycolic acid) nanoparticles (hydrodynamic radius 100 nm) and gold nanoparticles (diameter 40 nm), as 19F MRI and CT contrast agents, respectively. The resulting CPC/PFCE/gold composite is implanted in a rat model for in vivo longitudinal imaging. Our findings show that the incorporation of the two types of different nanoparticles did result in adequate handling properties of the cement. Qualitative and quantitative long-term assessment of CPC/PFCE/gold degradation was achieved in vivo and correlated to the new bone formation. Finally, no adverse biological effects on the bone tissue are observed via histology. In conclusion, an easy and efficient strategy for following CPC implantation and degradation in vivo is developed. As all materials used are biocompatible, this CPC/PFCE/gold composite is clinically applicable.
Keywords: calcium phosphate cement (CPC); computed tomography (CT); fluorine-based magnetic resonance imaging (19F MRI); gold nanoparticles (AuNPs); perfluorocarbon (PFC).