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.
- Contrast agent
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pharmaceutical Science