Early diagnosis and noninvasive detection of liver fibrosis and its heterogeneity remain as major unmet medical needs for stopping further disease progression toward severe clinical consequences. Here we report a collagen type I targeting protein-based contrast agent (ProCA32.collagen1) with strong collagen I affinity. ProCA32.collagen1 possesses high relaxivities per particle (r1 and r2) at both 1.4 and 7.0 T, which enables the robust detection of early-stage (Ishak stage 3 of 6) liver fibrosis and nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (Ishak stage 1 of 6 or 1 A Mild) in animal models via dual contrast modes. ProCA32.collagen1 also demonstrates vasculature changes associated with intrahepatic angiogenesis and portal hypertension during late-stage fibrosis, and heterogeneity via serial molecular imaging. ProCA32.collagen1 mitigates metal toxicity due to lower dosage and strong resistance to transmetallation and unprecedented metal selectivity for Gd3+ over physiological metal ions with strong translational potential in facilitating effective treatment to halt further chronic liver disease progression.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Physics and Astronomy(all)