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Polycatechol Nanoparticle MRI Contrast Agents


Amphiphilic triblock copolymers containing Fe(III) -catecholate complexes formulated as spherical- or cylindrical-shaped micellar nanoparticles (SMN and CMN, respectively) are described as new T1-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.

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