Development of Functional 1H MRI Probes Based on Nanoparticle Design

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Visualization of biomolecules in living bodies has attracted increasing attention in recent years. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a noninvasive technique that yields high-resolution structural information of deep anatomical regions; therefore, it has promising applications in the development of probes to visualize biological functions. By using stimuli-responsive polymers, we developed 1H MRI probes to measure the pH of aqueous solutions. The longitudinal relaxivity of P-Gd, a conjugate of n-octylamine-modified poly(SM-EVE) with Gd3+ complexes, increased as the pH of the solution decreased from neutral to acidic. Fluorometric investigation confirmed that the side chains of P-Gd were more rotationally restricted in acidic pH than in neutral pH conditions. In order to improve the magnitude of relaxivity, we developed novel probes C10-Gd and C30-Gd on the basis of cross-linked polymer nanoparticles. The relaxivities of these probes were measured, and the values showed that these nanoparticle-based probes also possessed pH-responsive molecular switches. In addition, their relaxivities were much larger than those of non-cross-linked probes. These nanoparticle-based MRI probes would be useful for the diagnosis of various diseases such as cancer and inflammatory diseases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)351-354
Number of pages4
JournalYakugaku Zasshi
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Contrast agent
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
  • Nanoparticle
  • PH-responsive

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmaceutical Science

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