25 March 2015
Osteomyelitis is a progressive destruction of bones caused by microorganisms. Inadequate or absent treatment increases the risk of bone growth inhibition, fractures, and sepsis. Among the diagnostic techniques, functional images are the most sensitive in detecting osteomyelitis in its early stages. However, these techniques do not have adequate specificity. By contrast, radiolabeled antibiotics could improve selectivity, since they are specifically recognized by the bacteria. The incorporation of these radiopharmaceuticals in drug-delivery systems with high affinity for bones could improve the overall uptake. In this work, long-circulating and alendronate-coated liposomes containing 99mtechnetium-radiolabeled ceftizoxime were prepared and their ability to identify infectious foci (osteomyelitis) in animal models was evaluated. The effect of the presence of PEGylated lipids and surface-attached alendronate was evaluated. The bone-targeted long-circulating liposomal 99mtechnetium–ceftizoxime showed higher uptake in regions of septic inflammation than did the non-long-circulating and/or alendronate-non-coated liposomes, showing that both the presence of PEGylated lipids and alendronate coating are important to optimize the bone targeting. Scintigraphic images of septic or aseptic inflammation-bearing Wistar rats, as well as healthy rats, were acquired at different time intervals after the intravenous administration of these liposomes. The target-to-non-target ratio proved to be significantly higher in the osteomyelitis-bearing animals for all investigated time intervals. Biodistribution studies were also performed after the intravenous administration of the formulation in osteomyelitis-bearing animals. A significant amount of liposomes were taken up by the organs of the mononuclear phagocyte system (liver and spleen). Intense renal excretion was also observed during the entire experiment period. Moreover, the liposome uptake by the infectious focus was significantly high. These results show that long-circulating and alendronate-coated liposomes containing 99mtechnetium-radiolabeled ceftizoxime have a tropism for infectious foci.