Revisiting the factors influencing the magnetic resonance contrast of Gd2O3 nanoparticles†
Gadolinium oxide nanoparticles (GONs) have the potential to be one of the best candidates for the contrast agents of magnetic resonance imaging. Even though the influence of parameters on the relaxation has been substantially demonstrated, the variation of the r1 of GONs with a similar structure and surface chemistry implied our limited understanding. We herein synthesized GONs with adjustable size, shape, and crystallinity, modified them with a series of molecules with different acidities, and recorded their r1 values and imaging contrast. Our results showed that the isoelectric point could be regarded as an indicator of the relaxation covering the influence of both surface modification and size, which highlighted the impact of protons dissociated from the contrast agents. We further showed that the nanoparticles with lower crystallinity possess higher relaxivity, and this phenomenon manifested significantly under a low field. Our work clarified that the longitudinal relaxivity of Gd2O3 nanoparticles is sensitively dependent on the numbers of H+ generated from the surface and in the environment, which may shed light on developing high-performance nanoparticulate T1 contrast agents.