The inability to transduce cellular membranes is a limitation of current magnetic resonance imaging probes used in biologic and clinical settings. This constraint confines contrast agents to extracellular and vascular regions of the body, drastically reducing their viability for investigating processes and cycles in developmental biology. Conversely, a contrast agent with the ability to permeate cell membranes could be used in visualizing cell patterning, cell fate mapping, gene therapy, and, eventually, noninvasive cancer diagnosis. Therefore, we describe the synthesis and quantitative imaging of four contrast agents with the capability to cross cell membranes in sufficient quantity for detection. Each agent is based on the conjugation of a Gd(III) chelator with a cellular transduction moiety. Specifically, we coupled Gd(III)- diethylenetriaminepentaacetic acid DTPA and Gd(III)-1,4,7,10- tetraazacyclododecane-1,4,7,10-tetraacetic acid with an 8-amino acid polyarginine oligomer and an amphipathic stilbene molecule, 4-amino-4′-(N, N-dimethylamino)stilbene. The imaging modality that provided the best sensitivity and spatial resolution for direct detection of the contrast agents is synchrotron radiation x-ray fluorescence (SR-XRF). Unlike optical microscopy, SR-XRF provides two-dimensional images with resolution 103 better than153Gd gamma counting, without altering the agent by organic fluorophore conjugation. The transduction efficiency of the intracellular agents was evaluated by T1 analysis and inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry to determine the efficacy of each chelate-transporter combination.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Medicine
- Biomedical Engineering
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
- Condensed Matter Physics