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MC-1 Magnetotactic Bacteria (MTB) are studied for their potential use as bio-carriers for drug delivery. The exploitation of the flagella combined with nanoparticles magnetite or magnetosomes chain embedded in each bacterium and used to change the swimming direction of each MTB through magnetotaxis provide both propulsion and steering in small diameters blood vessels. But for guiding these MTB towards a target, being capable to image these living bacteria in vivo using an existing medical imaging modality is essential. Here, it is shown that the magnetosomes embedded in each MTB can be used to track the displacement of these bacteria using an MRI system. In fact, these magnetosomes disturb the local magnetic field affecting T1 and T2-relaxation times during MRI. MR T1- weighted and T2-weighted images as well as T2-relaxivity of MTB are studied in order to validate the possibility of monitoring MTB drug delivery operations using a clinical MR scanner. This study proves that MTB affect much more the T2-relaxation than T1-relaxation rate and can be though as a negative contrast agent. The signal decay in the T2-weighted images is found to change proportionally to the bacterial concentration. These results show that a bacterial concentration of 2.2times107 cells/mL can be detected using a T2-weighted image, which is very encouraging to further investigate the application of MTB for in vivo applications.
Date of Conference: 22-26 Aug. 2007