Drawing on biology to inspire molecular design: a redox-responsive MRI probe based on Gd(iii)-nicotinamide†
A novel, reversible redox-active MRI probe, GdNR1, has been developed for the study of redox changes associated with diseased states. This system exhibits switching in relaxivity upon reduction and oxidation of the appended nicotinimidium. Relaxivity studies and cyclic voltammetry confirmed the impressive reversibility of this system, at a biologically-relevant reduction potential. A 2.5-fold increase in relaxivity was observed upon reduction of the complex, which corresponds to a change in the number of inner-sphere water molecules, as confirmed by luminescence lifetimes of the Eu(III) analogue and NMRD studies. This is the first example of a redox-responsive MRI probe utilising the biologically-inspired nicotinimidium redox switch. In the future this strategy could enable the non-invasive identification of hypoxic tissue and related cardiovascular disease.