Jump to main content
Jump to site search
PLANNED MAINTENANCE Close the message box

Scheduled maintenance upgrade on Thursday 4th of May 2017 from 8.00am to 9.00am (BST).

During this time our websites will be offline temporarily. If you have any questions please use the feedback button on this page. We apologise for any inconvenience this might cause and thank you for your patience.

Issue 17, 2017
Previous Article Next Article

Polyurethane based organic macromolecular contrast agents (PU-ORCAs) for magnetic resonance imaging

Author affiliations


Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is one of the leading imaging modalities because of the combination of convenient non-invasive application, high spatial resolution, and tomographic capability. MRI is not as sensitive as other techniques, and gadolinium (Gd(III)) based contrast agents must be added to increase the spatial resolution. Recent studies demonstrated that Gd(III) based contrast agents are not completely released from the body after treatment, which can cause damage, especially in renal impaired patients such as the nephrogenic systemic fibrosis (NSF) due to the toxicity of free Gd(III). In this context, we synthesize gadolinium-free macromolecular contrast agents, PU-ORCAs (polyurethane based organic contrast agents) containing nitroxides for MRI. Nitroxides are stable, organic, free radicals with a single unpaired electron, showing a potential for MRI applications. First, we successfully synthesize an MRI active novel diol monomer containing a nitroxide. Afterwards we copolymerize the nitroxide containing diol with polyethylene glycol end-capped diol and hexamethylene diisocyanate in the presence of the diazabicyclo[5.4.0]undec-7-ene (DBU) catalyst to prepare the macromolecular polyurethane based contrast agents. The ability of these amphiphilic polyurethanes to self-assemble in water is demonstrated. In addition, we show that PU-ORCAs are able to increase the water proton relaxivity (r1) and (r2), at 1.5 T, up to 0.66 and 0.98 mM−1 s−1 respectively. Phantom studies confirm that in the presence of low PU-ORCA concentrations (3.3 mM) there is a significant contrast enhancement, especially in the T1-imaging modality. In addition, r2/r1 = 1.3 value is close to 1 in human serum.

Graphical abstract: Polyurethane based organic macromolecular contrast agents (PU-ORCAs) for magnetic resonance imaging

Back to tab navigation
Please wait while Download options loads

Supplementary files

Publication details

The article was received on 27 Jan 2017, accepted on 25 Mar 2017 and first published on 28 Mar 2017

Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C7PY00166E
Citation: Polym. Chem., 2017,8, 2693-2701
  •   Request permissions

    Polyurethane based organic macromolecular contrast agents (PU-ORCAs) for magnetic resonance imaging

    S. Garmendia, D. Mantione, S. Alonso-de Castro, C. Jehanno, L. Lezama, J. L. Hedrick, D. Mecerreyes, L. Salassa and H. Sardon, Polym. Chem., 2017, 8, 2693
    DOI: 10.1039/C7PY00166E

Search articles by author