Polycatechol Nanoparticle MRI Contrast Agents

Yiwen Li, Yuran Huang, Zhao Wang, Fabio Carniato, Yijun Xie, Joseph P. Patterson, Matthew P. Thompson, Christopher M. Andolina, Treffly B. Ditri, Jill E. Millstone, Joshua S. Figueroa, Jeffrey D. Rinehart, Miriam Scadeng, Mauro Botta, Nathan C. Gianneschi*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Scopus citations


Amphiphilic triblock copolymers containing FeIII-catecholate complexes formulated as spherical- or cylindrical-shaped micellar nanoparticles (SMN and CMN, respectively) are described as new T 1-weighted agents with high relaxivity, low cytotoxicity, and long-term stability in biological fluids. Relaxivities of both SMN and CMN exceed those of established gadolinium chelates across a wide range of magnetic field strengths. Interestingly, shape-dependent behavior is observed in terms of the particles' interactions with HeLa cells, with CMN exhibiting enhanced uptake and contrast via magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) compared with SMN. These results suggest that control over soft nanoparticle shape will provide an avenue for optimization of particle-based contrast agents as biodiagnostics. The polycatechol nanoparticles are proposed as suitable for preclinical investigations into their viability as gadolinium-free, safe, and effective imaging agents for MRI contrast enhancement.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)668-677
Number of pages10
Issue number5
StatePublished - Feb 3 2016


  • contrast agents relaxivity
  • melanin
  • micelles
  • polycatechols

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Biomaterials
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Materials Science(all)

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