A Multimodal Ca(II) Responsive near IR-MR Contrast Agent Exhibiting High Cellular Uptake

Casey J. Adams, Ruby Krueger, Thomas J. Meade*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Ca(II) ions are critical for the proper function of neurons by contributing to synaptic signaling and regulating neuronal plasticity. Dysregulation of Ca(II) is associated with a number of pathologies that cause neurodegeneration; therefore the ability to monitor Ca(II) intracellularly is an important target for molecular imaging. Contrast-enhanced MR imaging is a promising modality for imaging changes in Ca(II) concentrations. However, the majority of Ca(II) responsive MR agents are limited to the extracellular space or hindered by poor cellular uptake. Here, we describe a new class of multimodal, bioresponsive Ca(II) magnetic resonance agents that are coupled to the NIR probe IR-783. This new design is based on previous generations of our Ca(II) MR agents but overcomes two significant challenges: (1) the presence of the NIR probe dramatically increases cellular uptake of the agent and (2) provides histological validation of the MR signal using NIR fluorescence imaging. IR-783 targets organic anion transporter polypeptides, and we demonstrate that the agents are not toxic in HT-22 or U-87 MG cells up to 20 μM. The cellular uptake of complex 1 was measured to be greater than 16 femtomoles per cell (where 7sim;1 femtomole/cell is detectable in acquired MR images). Complex 1 is simultaneously detectable by both MR and NIR fluorescence imaging in vitro and is activated (turned on) by intracellular Ca(II) at concentrations between 1 and 10 μM.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)334-341
Number of pages8
JournalACS chemical biology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 21 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Biochemistry


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