Gram-scale synthesis of a neodymium chelate as a spectral CT and second near-infrared window imaging agent for visualizing the gastrointestinal tract in vivo†
The diagnosis of gastrointestinal (GI) tract diseases is frequently performed in the clinic, so it is crucial to develop high-performance contrast agents for real-time and non-invasive imaging examination of the GI tract. Herein, we show a novel method to synthesize a neodymium (Nd) chelate, Nd-diethylenetriaminepentaacetic acid (Nd-DTPA), on a large scale without byproducts for spectral computed tomography (CT) and second near-infrared window imaging of the GI tract in vivo. The Nd-DTPA was simply generated by heating the mixture of Nd2O3 and DTPA in water at 85 °C for 2 h. This dual-modal imaging agent has the advantages of a simple and green synthesis route, no need of purification process, high yield (86.24%), large-scale production capability (>10 g in lab synthesis), good chemical stability and excellent water solubility (≈2 g mL−1). Moreover, the Nd-DTPA emitted strong near-infrared fluorescence at 1308 nm, and exhibited superior X-ray attenuation ability compared to clinical iohexol. The proposed Nd-DTPA can integrate the complementary merits of dual-modal imaging to realize spatial-temporal and highly sensitive imaging of the GI tract in vivo, and accurate diagnosis of the location of intestinal obstruction and monitor its recovery after surgery. The developed highly efficient method for the gram-scale synthesis of Nd-DTPA and the proposed spectral CT and second near-infrared window dual-modal imaging strategy provide a promising route for accurate visualization of the GI tract in vivo.