Heparin-stabilised iron oxide for MR applications: a relaxometric study†
Superparamagnetic nanoparticles have strong potential in biomedicine and have seen application as clinical magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) contrast agents, though their popularity has plummeted in recent years, due to low efficacy and safety concerns, including haemagglutination. Using an in situ procedure, we have prepared colloids of magnetite nanoparticles, exploiting the clinically approved anti-coagulant, heparin, as a templating stabiliser. These colloids, stable over several days, produce exceptionally strong MRI contrast capabilities particularly at low fields, as demonstrated by relaxometric investigations using nuclear magnetic resonance dispersion (NMRD) techniques and single field r1 and r2 relaxation measurements. This behaviour is due to interparticle interactions, enhanced by the templating effect of heparin, resulting in strong magnetic anisotropic behaviour which closely maps particle size. The nanocomposites have also reliably prevented protein-adsorption triggered thrombosis typical of non-stabilised nanoparticles, showing great potential for in vivo MRI diagnostics.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Emerging Investigators 2016: Novel design strategies for new functional materials