Cell labeling via membrane-anchored lipophilic MR contrast agents

Christiane E. Carney, Keith W. Macrenaris, Daniel J. Mastarone, David R. Kasjanski, Andy H. Hung, Thomas J. Meade*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Cell tracking in vivo with MR imaging requires the development of contrast agents with increased sensitivity that effectively label and are retained by cells. Most clinically approved Gd(III)-based contrast agents require high incubation concentrations and prolonged incubation times for cellular internalization. Strategies to increase contrast agent permeability have included conjugating Gd(III) complexes to cell penetrating peptides, nanoparticles, and small molecules which have greatly improved cell labeling but have not resulted in improved cellular retention. To overcome these challenges, we have synthesized a series of lipophilic Gd(III)-based MR contrast agents that label cell membranes in vitro. Two of the agents were synthesized with a multiplexing strategy to contain three Gd(III) chelates (1 and 2) while the third contains a single Gd(III) chelate (3). These new agents exhibit significantly enhanced labeling and retention in HeLa and MDA-MB-231-mcherry cells compared to agents that are internalized by cells (4 and Prohance).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)945-954
Number of pages10
JournalBioconjugate Chemistry
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 21 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Biotechnology
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmaceutical Science
  • Organic Chemistry


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