Water-soluble lipophilic MR contrast agents for cell membrane labeling

Christiane E. Carney, Keith W. MacRenaris, Thomas J. Meade*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Long-term cell tracking using MR imaging necessitates the development of contrast agents that both label and are retained by cells. One promising strategy for long-term cell labeling is the development of lipophilic Gd(III)-based contrast agents that anchor into the cell membrane. We have previously reported the efficacy of monomeric and multimeric lipophilic agents and showed that the monomeric agents have improved labeling and contrast enhancement of cell populations. Here, we report on the synthesis, characterization, and in vitro testing of a series of monomeric lipophilic contrast agents with varied alkyl chain compositions. We show that these agents disperse in water, localize to the cell membrane, and label HeLa and MCF7 cells effectively. Additionally, these agents have up to tenfold improved retention in cells compared to clinically available ProHance®.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)971-977
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Biological Inorganic Chemistry
Issue number6
StatePublished - Sep 24 2015


  • Cell labeling
  • Cell membrane
  • Contrast agents
  • Gadolinium
  • MRI

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry

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