The effects of gold nanoparticles characteristics and laser irradiation conditions on spatiotemporal temperature pattern of an agar phantom: A simulation and MR thermometry study

The effects of gold nanoparticles characteristics and laser irradiation conditions on spatiotemporal temperature pattern of an agar phantom: A simulation and MR thermometry study

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Journal Pre-proof The effects of gold nanoparticles characteristics and laser irradiation conditions on spatiotemporal temperature pattern of an agar phantom: a simulation and MR thermometry study Mohammad Zabanran, Mohammadreza Asadi, Arash Zare-Sadeghi, Ali Abbasian Ardakani, Ali Shakeri-Zadeh, Ali Komeili, S. Kamran Kamrava, Behafarid Ghalandari

PII:

S0030-4026(19)31616-X

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijleo.2019.163718

Reference:

IJLEO 163718

To appear in:

Optik

Received Date:

11 August 2019

Accepted Date:

6 November 2019

Please cite this article as: Zabanran M, Asadi M, Zare-Sadeghi A, Abbasian Ardakani A, Shakeri-Zadeh A, Komeili A, Kamrava SK, Ghalandari B, The effects of gold nanoparticles characteristics and laser irradiation conditions on spatiotemporal temperature pattern of an agar phantom: a simulation and MR thermometry study, Optik (2019), doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijleo.2019.163718

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The effects of gold nanoparticles characteristics and laser irradiation conditions on spatiotemporal temperature pattern of an agar phantom: a simulation and MR thermometry study Mohammad Zabanran1,2, ‡, Mohammadreza Asadi1,2, ‡, Arash Zare-Sadeghi1,3, Ali Abbasian Ardakani1,2, Ali Shakeri-Zadeh1,2, Ali Komeili4, S. Kamran Kamrava4,

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Behafarid Ghalandari 4,*

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Finetech in Medicine Research Center, Iran University of Medical Sciences (IUMS), Tehran, Iran 2

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Medical Physics Department, School of Medicine, Iran University of Medical Sciences (IUMS), Tehran, Iran 3

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Skull Base Research Center, The Five Senses Institute, Iran University of Medical Sciences (IUMS), Tehran, Iran 4

*Corresponding

author:

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Applied Biophotonics Research Center, Science and Research Branch, Islamic Azad University, Tehran, Iran

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)*( E-mail: [email protected]

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(‡) These authors contributed equally to this work.

Abstract In this paper, the effects of parameters related to gold nanoparticles (type, size, and concentration) and the laser parameters on spatiotemporal temperature pattern of an agar phantom during a photothermal therapy (PTT) procedure were modeled and then experimentally verified. Eight agar phantoms loaded by gold nanoparticles were made. An agar phantom without any nanoparticles was also considered as the control. Different sizes of two types of gold nanoparticles (spherical and silica-gold core shell) at various concentrations were studied. The phantoms were irradiated by various laser powers for 5 minutes. The temperature changes in each phantom was firstly calculated using COMSOL Multiphysics

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software. Also, each phantom was irradiated by laser and MR thermometry was performed to validate the simulation results. A reasonable correlation between simulation and MR thermometry was obtained (R=0.92). The error interval between calculations and experiments was ranged from ±3% to ±6%. It

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was clearly evident that laser irradiation conditions and nanoparticle characteristics affected the temperature rise profile. Spherical 20nm gold nanoparticles had better thermal efficiency and generated

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higher level of heat. The protocol suggested in this study may be appropriate to make a pre-clinical calculation and effect visualization for any nanoparticles-based PTT procedure before entrance into the

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clinics.

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Keywords: Cancer; Nanotechnology; Laser; Photothermal effects; Thermometry.

1. Introduction Photothermal therapy (PTT) has been recently emerged as a new method of cancer therapy with taking advantages of various useful materials [1-4]. Such materials, named as photosensitizers, are very sensitive to laser light and enable to convert the laser energy to heat [5]. Photosensitizing materials are usually engineered so that they can be targeted towards cancer cells with the lowest level of toxicity to the normal cells. Since cancer cells have higher metabolism rates, they are more sensitive to destructive thermal effects than normal cells [6].

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An optimal PTT approach is obtained when it leads to minimum damage in normal cells and maximum destruction in cancer tissues [7]. To meet this goal, an effective source of energy, such as laser, is needed so that it can expose the cancer tissues at the highest precision. In this

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area, there exists an important risk. High intensities of laser are needed to ablate the cancer tissues and such high intensities can be caused serious damages in normal collateral cells. The

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use of highly sensitive materials, such as nanoparticles, is one of the effective solutions to

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manage the risk of side effects which may be induced by high intensity laser irradiation. Nanotechnology has recently introduced an important class of nanoparticles, named as plasmonic nanoparticles [8-11]. Plasmonic nanoparticles can absorb the energy of laser and

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convert it to thermal energy. This way, the thermal effects induced by lower intensities of laser in the process of PTT can be enhanced [12].

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Gold nanoparticle (AuNP) is one of the most important types of plasmonic nanoparticles

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that can be used in PTT procedures to convert the laser energy to heat at a very short time [13]. Different gold nanostructure types have been recently synthesized and characterized, rendering multiple functions in cancer PTT. In practice, various types of gold nanostructures can be activated and heated by using different laser wavelengths. Gold nanoshells, gold nanospheres, and gold nanorods are the most common types of gold nanostructures which have been widely used in cancer PTT procedures so far [14]. Each type of gold nanostructures has its own unique

surface plasmon resonance (SPR) profile [15]. As a result, each type of gold nanostructures can absorb the laser radiation in different way than other types. The SPR wavelength of a gold nanostructure strongly depends on its size, shape, and surface composition, as well as the dielectric properties of its surrounding medium [16]. For example, the SPR wavelength for Au nanospheres is located in the visible range while the SPR wavelength of the core-shell silicagold nanoparticles falls into the NIR region. Different optical properties of various types of gold nanostructures, such as absorption coefficient or scattering coefficient, are well-known

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and previously reported by other investigators [17]. A question that has been answered less accurately is that “how various types of AuNPs affect the temperature profile of a laser irradiated cancer tissue loaded by AuNPs”. Numerical modeling is a powerful strategy to

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answer such an important question in the field of cancer PTT. On the other hand, it is too critical to validate the results obtained by numerical modelling. There are two methods to measure

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temperature inside a tumor and its surrounding tissues; (i) invasive methods [18] and (ii) non-

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invasive modalities [19]. Invasive methods take advantage of a probe such as optical fiber thermometers, thermocouples, and thermistors. These types of thermometers can only provide thermal information of a point in the region of interest and they are disable to offer 2D

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information. In non-invasive modalities, some imaging modalities are usually used to make a thermal map of a heated tissue. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), computed tomography

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(CT) and ultrasound are the well-known modalities currently used for real-time monitoring and

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mapping the thermal changes in the procedures of thermotherapies. The major advantage of image-based thermometry techniques is the empowering one to do a 2D or even 3D temperature mapping [20]. We have recently demonstrated that MRI-based thermometry can be used when a high resolution and a multidirectional measurement are of interest, in the process of AuNPs based PTT [21].

We have designed the current study to determine the effects of AuNPs properties and laser irradiation conditions on thermal profiles of a medium received AuNPs based PTT procedures. To this end, various agar phantoms with different states from viewpoints of AuNPs (concentration, type (spherical or core-shell), and size) were made. Before conducting any experiments, the phantoms were simulated using COMSOL Multiphysics® modeling software (version 5.2) and various conditions of laser irradiation (laser power and irradiation time) were studied. To validate the results obtained by numerical modeling, we did MR thermometry as

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previously described [21]. 2. Materials and Methods 2.1. Materials

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Agar powder was purchased from Sigma Chemical Co. (USA). Spherical gold nanoparticles in

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various sizes (NB-AuNP-10nm/20nm/40nm) and silica-gold core-shell nanoparticles (NB-CS70nm) were purchased from Nanobon Company (Tehran, Iran). A plexiglas phantom was

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customized and developed to be used for PTT studies. This phantom had a cylindrical shape (height × diameter: 100 mm × 100 mm).

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2.2. Spatiotemporal modeling of temperature pattern

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COMSOL Multiphysics® modeling software (version 5.2) was used to simulate the process of PTT in agar phantoms. For this purpose, non-uniform size and shape grids were used to mesh

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the geometry model. Fig. 1 shows the schematic of model geometry for simulating the spatiotemporal temperature pattern in an agar phantom. The computational modeling was done in two stages: 1) Photon diffusion equations were first used to calculate the light distribution.

2) Then, the Pennes bioheat transfer equation was used to determine the distribution of

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temperature in an agar phantom.

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Fig. 1. The schematic illustration of model geometry used for simulating the spatiotemporal temperature pattern in an agar phantom.

2.2.1. Modeling of laser heating process

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When a laser beam propagates through a medium, it will be absorbed and scattered depending upon the absorption and scattering coefficients of the medium. The radiative transport theory

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was employed to model the light field distribution within a medium [22]. According to this theory, light diffusion in the tissue can be determined by the following approximation: −𝐷∇2 𝜑(𝑟, 𝑡) + 𝜇𝑎 𝜑(𝑟, 𝑡) = 𝑠(𝑟, 𝑡)

(1)

where 𝜑(𝑟, 𝑡) is the light fluence rate (W/m2), 𝑠(𝑟, 𝑡) is the source term (W/m3), 𝑡 is time (s), 𝑟 is Cartesian coordinate (m), and D is the diffusion coefficient (m) given by:

𝐷=

1

(2)

3(𝜇𝑠′ +𝜇𝑎 )

where 𝜇 a is the absorption coefficient and 𝜇𝑠′ = 𝜇𝑠 (1 − 𝑔) is the reduced scattering coefficient. 𝜇𝑠 is scattering coefficient and 𝑔 is the anisotropy factor. When the plasmonic nanoparticles are impregnated into a medium, they alter its optical properties. The total absorption (μatot ) and reduced scattering (μ′stot) coefficients of a medium

𝜇𝑎𝑡𝑜𝑡 = 𝜇𝑎𝑡 + 0.75𝑓𝑣

𝜎𝑎

(3)

𝑎

𝜎𝑠′

(4)

𝑎

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′ ′ 𝜇𝑠𝑡𝑜𝑡 = 𝜇𝑠𝑡 + 0.75𝑓𝑣

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due to the embedded nanoparticles can be calculated as follows [23]:

′ where 𝜇𝑎𝑡 and 𝜇𝑠𝑡 are the absorption and reduced scattering coefficients of the medium. 𝑓𝑣 is

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the volume fraction of the nanoparticles, 𝜎𝑎 and 𝜎𝑠′ stand for the dimensionless efficiency factor

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of absorption and transport efficiency factor of scattering for single nanoparticles, respectively. Finally, 𝑎 represents the nanoparticles radius. Therefore, the presence of plasmonic nanoparticles within the tissue can increase the total absorption and scattering coefficients,

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which in turn alter the thermal distribution due to the increased value of 𝜑 in equation (1).

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2.2.2. Bioheat transfer model

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After determining the light distribution in the agar phantom loaded with nanoparticles using the diffusion approximation of the transport theory, the resulting temperature distribution was modeled using the Pennes bioheat equation [24]: 𝜌𝑐

𝜕𝑇(𝑟,𝑡) 𝜕𝑡

= ∇(𝑘∇𝑇(𝑟, 𝑡)) + 𝑄𝑠 + 𝑄𝑝 + 𝑄𝑚

(5)

where 𝜌, 𝑐 and 𝑘 are the density, specific heat and thermal conductivity of the tissue, and 𝑄𝑝 = 𝜌𝑏 𝑐𝑏 𝜔𝑏 (𝑇𝑏 − 𝑇) is the heat gained or lost due to blood perfusion, where 𝜔𝑏 , 𝜌𝑏 , 𝑐𝑏 , and 𝑇𝑏 are blood perfusion rate, blood density, specific heat and temperature of blood, respectively. 𝑄𝑚 is the heat generated due to metabolic activity, and 𝑄𝑠 is the heat generated due to PTT and can be expressed as [22]: 𝑄𝑠 (𝑟, 𝑡) = 𝜇𝑎 𝜑(𝑟, 𝑡)(𝑊/𝑚3 )

(6)

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To consider heat transfer at the boundary between the surface of the mouse body and air due to the convection mechanism, a Neumann boundary condition was applied, given by [22]: 𝜕𝑇

−𝑘 𝜕𝑛 = ℎ(𝑇𝑏 − 𝑇∞ )

(7)

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Where ℎ is the convective transfer coefficient , 𝑛 is the unit outward normal, 𝑇𝑏 and 𝑇∞ are the

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temperature at the boundary and the ambient temperature of the environment (21C), respectively. The numerical values of the thermal and optical properties used in this simulation

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study are presented in Table 1 and Table 2.

2.3. Thermometry and experimental validation MR thermometry method, as reported by our research group previously [21], was employed to validate the results obtained from simulation studies. In the following text, we briefly describe the applied methods to perform thermometry and experimental validation. 2.3.1 Agar phantom preparation

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At first, nine different agar phantoms were made to study the effects of various types of AuNPs and their concentrations in the process of PTT. The first phantom was made of agar gel alone (control). Other phantoms were made of either spherical or core shell gold nanoparticles at

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various concentrations (8 or 16 μg/ml). For spherical gold nanoparticles, three various sizes were also studied (10, 20, and 40 nm) to determine the effect of nanoparticle size on PTT

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process.

2.3.2. Laser irradiation To do MR thermometry, as a method of obtaining actual temperature during PTT procedure, laser light needs to be delivered to agar phantom using MR compatible devices such as optical fibers. We used optical fibers with energy transfer potential of ~90% and a length of 4 m to transfer photons from laser device (Changchun New Industries Optoelectronics Tech; China) to the agar phantoms. Each type of the mentioned agar phantoms was separately irradiated by laser beam either at powers of 1W or 2W for 5 minutes. Taken together, we

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examined 18 various conditions for PTT in agar phantoms (with and without nanoparticles). 2.3.3. MR thermometry

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All eighteen various conditions (described above) were firstly simulated and then experimentally studied using MR thermometry method to measure the actual temperature of

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each point of a given agar phantom. All MR images were taken by a 1.5 T MRI scanner (Gyroscan, Philips). We used a 2D fast GRE-EPI sequence for MR thermometry to perform a

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phase-sensitive imaging. The parameters were adjusted so that the highest image quality was

as follows:

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obtained and the signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) was reasonable. The MR imaging parameters were

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Square field of view=16 cm; slice thickness=1.5mm; acquisition matrix=192×192; TR=115ms; TE=25ms; flip angle: 40°.

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More details for MR thermometry protocol can be found in our previous publication [21]. 3. Results

Two-dimensional finite element simulation was performed to investigate the effect of different types of AuNPs on spatiotemporal temperature pattern of an agar phantom during PTT procedures. We built a phantom geometry using COMSOL software and then calculated the

temperature of each point of a laser irradiated agar phantom. Our studies were performed to assess the PTT induced temperature changes versus time and depth. Fig. 2 shows the profiles of temperature variations in terms of laser irradiation time. As seen in Fig. 2, the temperature profiles are categorized versus laser power and nanoparticles concentration. In each panel, the effects of nanoparticle type can be seen. The temperature was increased when laser irradiation time increased. Laser power had a same effect on temperature increase. The higher laser power induced greater temperature changes. We also found a direct relation between nanoparticle

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concentration and temperature change. At a given laser power and for a specific nanoparticle type, the higher temperatures were obtained for the higher concentrations. As seen in Fig. 2, at the power of 2W, changes can be resolved in better manner. The order of heat generation in

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the studied phantoms at concentration of 16 µg/ml and laser power of 2W were as follows:

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Sphere-20nm> Sphere-10nm> Sphere-40nm> Core-shell-70> Control We also studied the variations of temperature in each phantom versus depth. It was supposed

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that the superficial central point of each phantom only received the laser beam and then temperature variations versus depth was studied. Fig. 3 shows the profiles of temperature

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variations in terms of depth. As seen in Fig. 3d, the maximum slope was seen for the phantom loaded by 20 nm spherical AuNPs and irradiated by 2W laser. At a given depth (for example 5

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mm under the irradiation point) and at a given laser power (for example 2 W), it was found

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there is a temperature difference of 9°C between core shell and spherical AuNPs.

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Fig. 2. The profiles of temperature change versus time for various agar phantoms loaded by different AuNPs and irradiated by various laser powers. These profiles were obtained from our simulation studies. The data shows temperature changes in superficial central point of each agar phantom.

Fig. 3. The profiles of temperature change versus depth for various agar phantoms loaded by different AuNPs and irradiated by various laser power. These profiles were obtained from our simulation studies. The data shows temperature changes on the central axis of each agar phantom.

We also studied the radial variations of temperature at the surface of each agar phantom. Results of this section of our studies are presented in Fig. 4. In this Fig, 2D color map of each phantom irradiated by laser (1 or 2W; 5min) are shown. As seen in Fig. 4, the effect of nanoparticle presence inside the agar phantoms is significant and detectable. The hottest point (51 °C) can be seen for the agar phantom loaded by spherical AuNPs (20 nm; 16 μg/ml) and exposed by laser at the power of 2 W (see Fig. 4, panel (n)). Also, a gradual decrease of temperature in terms of radius is visible in each phantom. The highest temperature is observed

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at the central point of each phantom where receives laser irradiation, and the points too far from the center of phantom have the lowest temperature.

To validate the results obtained from our simulation studies, we made a customized phantom

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and filled it by agar gel (2%). Various types of AuNPs were loaded in the phantoms and

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examined. The phantoms were irradiated by laser for 5 minutes and MR images were simultaneously taken to be used for MR thermometry as described before. The results of MR

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thermometry studies are shown in Fig. 5. To make an easy comparison between simulation and experiment results, we arranged the Fig. 4 and 5 panels similarly and they are appeared in the

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same order. Similar to simulation results, the hottest point was observed for the agar phantom loaded by spherical AuNPs (20 nm; 16 μg/ml) and exposed by laser at the power of 2 W (see

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Fig. 5, panel (n)). Also, similar to what we calculated in modeling section, a gradual decrease of temperature was experimentally observed in terms of radius in each phantom. We found a

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good correlation between data obtained from modeling section and MR thermometry studies (R=0.92). The error interval between these calculations and experiments was ranged from ±3% to ±6%.

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Fig. 4. The 2D color map of virtual agar phantoms irradiated by various powers of laser for 5 minutes. These profiles were obtained from our simulation studies. The colors show temperature at the surface of each agar phantom.

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Fig. 5. The 2D color map of actual agar phantom irradiated by various powers of laser for 5 minutes. These profiles were obtained from our MR thermometry studies. The colors show temperature at the surface of each agar phantom.

4. Discussion In this study, the effects of AuNPs characteristics (type and size) and laser irradiation conditions on spatiotemporal temperature pattern of an agar phantom were modeled and visualized. In a typical experimental study, phantom materials should be similar to the tissues from viewpoints of thermal and optical properties. In this area, agar gel is often used to make various

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phantoms for experimental studies [26]. Also, agar gel is widely used in MRI studies because its properties are almost like water. According to Sled et al. study, there is good consistency between data obtained from soft tissues and agar phantom when MRI is used as the medical imaging modality [27]. In the present study, we also utilized agar gel to investigate the effects

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of AuNPs characteristics on the process of PTT. Moreover, the main goal of this study was to

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provide a validated approach for simulating the PTT process and visualizing the heat map distribution profile inside the tissue during such a hyperthermia treatment strategy. To this end,

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we utilized COMSOL software to make our simulations and MRI to perform needed thermometry validation actions.

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Another issue that must be addressed in this section is the laser as a heating source for hyperthermia of cancer. In photothermal therapy, the amount of tissue damage depends on laser

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irradiation conditions such as exposure time, wavelength, and laser power [28]. Consequently,

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these conditions affect the heat generated inside the tissue. Also, the amount of damage in the process of PTT depends on the optical properties of the tissue (such as absorption coefficient and dispersion coefficient, as described in equations 1 to 4). Thermal properties of the tissue, such as thermal capacity and thermal conductivity, are also the basic requirements to describe thermal phenomenon occurred in a tissue following a PTT procedure [29].

The presence of nanoparticles has significant effects on the rate of heat absorption inside the tissue. Nanoparticles characteristics and their concentration change and temperature rise profile. In fact, the presence of nanoparticles inside the tissue changes the optical properties of the environment and enhances the heat generation efficiency. Gold nanoparticles are recognized as the most commonly used light-sensitive nano-agents, due to their outstanding optical, chemical and biological properties [30-37]. It has been demonstrated that AuNPs can significantly reduce the laser power required to achieve a specific therapeutic response in the

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process of PTT. In this context, AuNPs concentration play a significant role [38]. The interaction of laser and AuNPs is due to a well-known phenomenon called surface plasmon resonance. This phenomenon occurs due to the vibration of free electrons on the surface of

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AuNPs. As a result, the energy of laser photons is converted to heat and then is transferred to the surrounding lattice of nanoparticles. Depending on the laser irradiation condition and the

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concentration of the nanoparticles, temperature of the tissue can be changed (as reported in Fig.

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4 and 5). We have recently reported the same relation between nanoparticles concentration and temperature change when spherical AuNPs were utilized as the nano-heaters [21].

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The type of AuNPs is another factor influencing the amount of heat generation and temperature changes. To examine this theory, we studied two different types of gold nanoparticles. The first

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type was spherical and the second one was the silica-gold core-shell nanoparticles. The results confirmed that spherical AuNP (20 nm) generates higher level of heat and increases

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temperature greater than core shell nanoparticles when laser irradiation conditions and nanoparticles concentration are constant. The reason for such a difference is related to the absorption coefficient (µa). As seen in Table 2, absorption coefficient for spherical AuNPs and core shell nanoparticles are 67.88 and 50.61 (µm-1). Accordingly, it is expected that spherical AuNPs produce higher level of heat when embedded in an agar phantom and irradiated by laser (as confirmed in our calculations and experiments (Fig. 4 and 5)).

Another factor influencing the amount of heat generation and temperature changes during nano-photo-thermal therapy is the nanoparticle radius. In this study, we examined the effects of presence of spherical AuNPs with 3 different radii (10, 20 and 40 nm) on temperature changes occurred in agar phantoms. The greatest effect was observed for spherical nanoparticle with a radius of 20 nm and other sizes of nanoparticles had lowest effects. The main reason of such an effect may be found in Table 2, where it is seen that spherical AuNPs with the radius of 20 nm has the greatest µa.

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Taken together, our quantitative studies showed that temperature profile of a medium embedded by AuNPs highly depends on the nanoparticle size, concentration, and type (to be spherical or core shell). This would be helpful to develop a quantitative guide for selection of

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AuNPs for a PTT procedure in the field of cancer nanotechnology.

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5. Conclusion

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In this paper, we reported the effects of AuNPs characteristics (type, size, and concentration) and the laser irradiation conditions on spatiotemporal temperature pattern of an agar phantom during a PTT process. It was clearly evident from our studies that nanoparticles size affected

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the temperature rise profile, but their relation was not in a direct manner. This is while we found a direct relation between nanoparticles concentration and temperature rise. Also, we had

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a significant temperature rise when laser power and irradiation time were increased. At the

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same laser power, spherical AuNPs-20nm had better efficiency and generated higher level of heat. All these findings were obtained using numerical calculations and visualized using MR thermometry imaging. Taken together, the protocol suggested in this study may open new windows in front of investigators who are active in the field of cancer PTT. If researchers are interested in making new and further insights into the important parameters affecting the process of cancer PTT, we suggest them to use the strategy proposed in this study. This means

that, before entrance into the clinics, we can make a pre-clinical calculation and effect visualization for any nanoparticles-based PTT procedure if we have the optical properties of the nanoparticles. Acknowledgements All supports received from Applied Biophotonics Research Center, Science and Research

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Branch, Islamic Azad University (Tehran, Iran) are acknowledged.

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Table 1 Thermal properties employed in the present study [25]. Parameter

Value

Parameter

Value

Density, ρ

1000 kg/m3

Convective coefficient, h

20 W/m2.K

Specific heat, 𝑐

3900 J/kg.K

Thermal conductivity, 𝑘

0.6 W/m.K

Radius (nm)

𝝁𝒂𝒏 (m-1) ;  (nm)

Gold nanospheres

10

73.72; 521

0.45; 535

Gold nanospheres

20

87.36; 528

5.25; 535

Gold nanospheres

40

67.88; 549

45.94; 560

Silica-gold nanoshells

Rcore=40 , Rtotal=70

4.31; 843

50.61; 843

ur

na

lP

re

Anisotropy factor, g, was considered to be of 0.9.

Jo

𝝁𝒔𝒏 (m-1);  (nm)

ro of

Nanoparticle type

-p

Table 2 Optical properties employed in present study [17] .