Kai Licha, Pia Welker, Marie Weinhart, Nicole Wegner, Sylvia Kern, Stefanie Reichert, Ines Gemeinhardt, Carmen Weissbach, Bernd Ebert, Rainer Haag, Michael Schirner— 2011
We present a highly selective approach for the targeting of inflammation with a multivalent polymeric probe. Dendritic polyglycerol was employed to synthesize a polyanionic macromolecular conjugate with a near-infrared fluorescent dye related to Indocyanine Green (ICG). On the basis of the dense assembly of sulfate groups which were generated from the polyol core, the resulting polyglycerol sulfate (molecular weight 12 kD with ∼70 sulfate groups) targets factors of inflammation (IC50 of 3–6 nM for inhibition of L-selectin binding) and is specifically transported into inflammatory cells. The in vivo accumulation studied by near-IR fluorescence imaging in an animal model of rheumatoid arthritis demonstrated fast and selective uptake which enabled the differentiation of diseased joints (score 1–3) with a 3.5-fold higher fluorescence level and a signal maximum at 60 min post injection. Localization in tissues using fluorescence histology showed that the conjugates are deposited in the inflammatory infiltrate in the synovial membrane, whereas nonsulfated control was not detected in association with disease. Hence, this type of polymeric imaging probe is an alternative to current bioconjugates and provides future options for targeted imaging and drug delivery.