Effect of Magnetic Coupling on Water Proton Relaxivity in a Series of Transition Metal GdIII Complexes

Laura M. Lilley, Kang Du, Matthew D. Krzyaniak, Giacomo Parigi, Claudio Luchinat, T. David Harris*, Thomas J. Meade

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


A fundamental challenge in the design of bioresponsive (or bioactivated) GdIII-based magnetic resonance (MR) imaging probes is the considerable background signal present in the "preactivated" state that arises from outer-sphere relaxation processes. When sufficient concentrations of a bioresponsive agent are present (i.e., a detectable signal in the image), the inner- and outer-sphere contributions to r1 may be misinterpreted to conclude that the agent has been activated, when it has not. Of the several parameters that determine the observed MR signal of an agent, only the electron relaxation time (T1e) impacts both the inner- and outer-sphere relaxation. Therefore, strategies to minimize this background signal must be developed to create a near zero-background (or truly "off" state) of the agent. Here, we demonstrate that intramolecular magnetic exchange coupling when GdIII is coupled to a paramagnetic transition metal provides a means to overcome the contribution of second- and outer-sphere contributions to the observed relaxivity. We have prepared a series of complexes with the general formula LMLn(μ-O2CCH3)(O2CCH3)2 (M = Co, Cu, Zn). Solid-state magnetic susceptibility measurements reveal significant magnetic coupling between GdIII and the transition metal ion. Nuclear magnetic relaxation dispersion (NMRD) analysis confirms that the observed differences in relaxivity are associated with the modulation of T1e at GdIII. These results clearly demonstrate that magnetic exchange coupling between GdIII and a transition metal ion can provide a significant decrease in T1e (and therefore the relaxivity of GdIII). This design strategy is being exploited to prepare new generations of preclinical bioresponsive MR imaging probes with near zero-background.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5810-5819
Number of pages10
JournalInorganic chemistry
Issue number10
StatePublished - May 21 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry


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