PET imaging with copper-64 as a tool for real-time in vivo investigations of the necessity for cross-linking of polymeric micelles in nanomedicine

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Polymeric micelles in nanomedicine are often cross-linked to prevent disintegration in vivo. This typically requires clinically problematic chemicals or laborious procedures. In addition, cross-linking may interfere with advanced release strategies. Despite this, it is often not investigated whether cross-linking is necessary for efficient drug delivery. We used positron emission tomography (PET) imaging with64Cu to demonstrate general methodology for real-time in vivo investigations of micelle stability. Triblock copolymers with 4-methylcoumarin cores of ABC-type (PEG-PHEMA-PCMA) were functionalized in the handle region (PHEMA) with CB-TE2A chelators. Polymeric micelles were formed by dialysis and one half was core cross-linked (CL) by UV light and the other half was not (nonCL). Both CL and nonCL were radiolabeled with64Cu and compared in vivo in tumor-bearing mice, with free64Cu as control. Accumulation in relevant organs was quantified by region of interest analysis on PET images and ex vivo counting. It was observed that CL and nonCL showed limited differences in biodistribution from each other, whereas both differed markedly from control (free64Cu). This demonstrated that 4-methylcoumarin core micelles may form micelles that are stable in circulation even without cross-linking. The methodology presented here where individual unimers are radiolabeled is applicable to a wide range of polymeric micelle types.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Labelled Compounds and Radiopharmaceuticals
Issue number8
Pages (from-to)366-374
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 2017

    Research areas

  • Acetic Acid/chemistry, Animals, Copper Radioisotopes, Female, Mice, Micelles, Nanomedicine/methods, Polyethylene Glycols/chemistry, Polymers/chemistry, Positron Emission Tomography Computed Tomography/methods, Time Factors, Tissue Distribution

Number of downloads are based on statistics from Google Scholar and

No data available

ID: 194040096