Maternal-placental-fetal biodistribution of multimodal polymeric nanoparticles in a pregnant rat model in mid and late gestation

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Multimodal polymeric nanoparticles have many exciting diagnostic and therapeutic applications, yet their uptake and passage by the placenta, and applications in the treatment of pregnancy complications have not been thoroughly investigated. In this work, the maternal-fetal-placental biodistribution of anionic and cationic multimodal poly(glycidyl methacrylate) (PGMA) nanoparticles in pregnant rats at mid (ED10) and late (ED20) gestation was examined. Fluorescently-labelled and superparamagnetic PGMA nanoparticles functionalized with/without poly(ethyleneimine) (PEI) were administered to pregnant rats at a clinically-relevant dose and biodistribution and tissue uptake assessed. Quantitative measurement of fluorescence intensity or magnetic resonance relaxometry in tissue homogenates lacked the sensitivity to quantify tissue uptake. Confocal microscopy, however, identified uptake by maternal organs and the decidua (ectoplacental cone) and trophoblast giant cells of conceptuses at ED10. At ED20, preferential accumulation of cationic vs. anionic nanoparticles was observed in the placenta, with PGMA-PEI nanoparticles localised mainly within the chorionic plate. These findings highlight the significant impact of surface charge and gestational age in the biodistribution of nanoparticles in pregnancy, and demonstrate the importance of using highly sensitive measurement techniques to evaluate nanomaterial biodistribution and maternal-fetal exposure.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2866
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 6 Jun 2017


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