Indexed on: 07 Aug '18Published on: 07 Aug '18Published in: Nanoscale
Intravascular drug delivery technologies majorly utilize spherical nanoparticles as carrier vehicles. Their targets are often at the blood vessel wall or in the tissue beyond the wall, such that vehicle localization towards the wall (margination) becomes a pre-requisite for their function. To this end, some studies have indicated that under flow environment, micro-particles have a higher propensity than nano-particles to marginate to the wall. Also, non-spherical particles theoretically have a higher area of surface-adhesive interactions than spherical particles. However, detailed systematic studies that integrate various particle size and shape parameters across nano-to-micro scale to explore their wall-localization behavior in RBC-rich blood flow, have not been reported. We address this gap by carrying out computational and experimental studies utilizing particles of four distinct shapes (spherical, oblate, prolate, rod) spanning nano- to-micro scale sizes. Computational studies were performed using the Large-scale Atomic/Molecular Massively Parallel Simulator (LAMMPS) package, with Dissipative Particle Dynamics (DPD). For experimental studies, model particles were made from neutrally buoyant fluorescent polystyrene spheres, that were thermo-stretched into non-spherical shapes and all particles were surface-coated with biotin. Using microfluidic setup, the biotin-coated particles were flowed over avidin-coated surfaces in absence versus presence of RBCs, and particle adhesion and retention at the surface was assessed by inverted fluorescence microscopy. Our computational and experimental studies provide a simultaneous analysis of different particle sizes and shapes for their retention in blood flow and indicate that in presence of RBCs, micro-scale non-spherical particles undergo enhanced 'margination + adhesion' compared to nano-scale spherical particles, resulting in their higher binding. These results provide important insight regarding improved design of vascularly targeted drug delivery systems.