Gd(III) chelate is currently used as positive magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) contrast agent in clinical diagnosis, but generally induces the risk of nephrogenic systemic fibrosis (NSF) due to the dissociated Gd3+ from Gd(III) chelates. To develop a novel positive MRI contrast agent with low toxicity and high sensitivity, ultrasmall MnO nanoparticles were PEGylated via catechol-Mn chelation and conjugated with cRGD as active targeting function to tumor. Particularly, the MnO nanoparticles with a size of ca. 5nm were modified by α,β-poly(aspartic acid)-based graft polymer containing PEG and DOPA moieties and, meanwhile, conjugated with cRGD to produce the contrast agent with a size of ca. 100nm and a longitudinal relaxivity (r1) of 10.2mM-1S-1. Such nanoscaled contrast agent integrated passive- and active-targeting function to tumor, and its efficient accumulation behavior in tumor was verified by in vivo distribution study. At the same time, the PEG moiety played a role of hydrophilic coating to improve the biocompatibility and stability under storing and physiological conditions, and especially might guarantee enough circulation time in blood. Moreover, in vivo MRI revealed a good and long-term effect of enhancing MRI signal for as-fabricated contrast agent while cell viability assay proved its acceptable cytotoxicity for MRI application. On the whole, the as-fabricated PEGylated and cRGD-functionalized contrast agent based on ultrasmall MnO nanoparticles showed a great potential to the T1-weighted MRI diagnosis of tumor.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The research work was supported by the International Science & Technology Cooperation Program of China, Ministry of Science and Technology of China ( 2014DFG52500 ), Shanghai Municipality Commission for Special Project of Nanometer Science and Technology ( 11nm0506000 ), the National Natural Science Foundation of China ( 81171333 ), and the EU-FP 7 project ( MARINA 263215 ).
- Longitudinal relaxivity
- Magnetic resonance imaging
- Positive contrast agent
- Ultrasmall MnO nanoparticles