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Tantalum oxide nanoparticles for X-ray imaging of articular cartilage

Tantalum oxide nanoparticles could be useful as an X-ray contrast agent for imaging articular cartilage. Ta2O5 nanoparticles were synthesized with terminal functional groups consisting of neutral phosphonate, cationic ammonium or anionic carboxylate. In a metacarpophalangeal joint from the index finger of a human cadaver, the ammonium-linked Ta2O5 nanoparticle showed preferential uptake in an osteoarthritic defect area and enabled clear visualization of the defect with 2D and 3D X-ray computed tomography. In rats, intra-articular injection of a nontoxic variant of the ammonium-linked Ta2O5 nanoparticle enabled in vivo imaging of the knee joint with high-resolution micro-computed tomography. Next steps include evaluating the tantalum oxide nanoparticles as a contrast agent in animal models of osteoarthritis.

SciBX 7(29); doi:10.1038/scibx.2014.881
Published online July 31, 2014

Patent and licensing status available from the Boston University Technology Development Office

Freedman, J.D. et al. Angew. Chem. Int. Ed.; published online June 30, 2014;
Contact: Mark W. Grinstaff, Boston University, Boston, Mass.