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Self-Assembly of SiO2/Gd-DTPA-Polyethylenimine Nanocomposites as Magnetic Resonance Imaging Probes

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Controlled self-assembly of organic/inorganic magnetic hybrid materials have important applications in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). In this study, a widely used polycation polyethylenimine was conjugated with gadopentetic acid (Gd-DTPA) as a gadolinium bearing polyelectrolyte (Gd-DTPA-PEI). Next, multilayers of Gd-DTPA-PEI were coated on silica nanoparticles through layer-by-layer (LbL) self-assembly with polyanions as monitored by dynamic light scattering, zeta-potential, and scanning electron microscopy. The thickness of the multilayer film was estimated from quartz crystal microbalance based on counting frequency change of each adsorbed layer. The magnetic relaxation of SiO2/(Gd-DTPA-PEI/polyanion) n core–shell nanocomposite was tested at 1.5 T magnetic field in a clinical MRI scanner, and a 3-fold increase in T 1 relaxivity to 15.1 Gd mM−1s−1 was noticed comparing to Gd-DTPA small molecules. Dextran sulfate was coated as the outermost layer on the nanocomposite for better biocompatibility as verified by in vitro cytotoxicity studies. This formulation provides good signal intensity enhancement of mouse liver in vivo with only 1/25 dose of clinical standard at 30 and 60 minutes after intravenous injection. This sensitive imaging probe with unique core–shell structures may find broad applications in cellular and molecular imaging.


Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 2010

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  • Journal for Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (JNN) is an international and multidisciplinary peer-reviewed journal with a wide-ranging coverage, consolidating research activities in all areas of nanoscience and nanotechnology into a single and unique reference source. JNN is the first cross-disciplinary journal to publish original full research articles, rapid communications of important new scientific and technological findings, timely state-of-the-art reviews with author's photo and short biography, and current research news encompassing the fundamental and applied research in all disciplines of science, engineering and medicine.
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