A palladium label to monitor nanoparticle-assisted drug delivery of a photosensitizer into tumor spheroids by elemental bioimaging
In this study, the cellular uptake of the second generation photosensitizer 5,10,15,20-tetrakis(3-hydroxyphenyl)porphyrin (mTHPP) was investigated using laser ablation coupled to inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (LA-ICP-MS) at a spatial resolution of 10 m. To achieve high sensitivity, the photosensitizer was tagged with palladium. As a tumor model system, a 3D cell culture of the TKF-1 cell line was used. These tumor spheroids were incubated with the Pd-tagged photosensitizer embedded in poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA) nanoparticles to investigate the efficiency of nanoparticle based drug delivery. An accumulation of the drug in the first cell layers of the tumor spheroid was observed. In the case of nanoparticle based drug delivery, a significantly more homogeneous distribution of the photosensitizer was achieved, compared to tumor spheroids incubated with the dissolved photosensitizer without the nanoparticular drug delivery system. The infiltration depth of the Pd-tagged photosensitizer could not be increased with rising incubation time, which can be attributed to the adsorption of the photosensitizer onto cellular components.