Indexed on: 07 Jan '17Published on: 07 Jan '17Published in: Journal of visualized experiments : JoVE
Paramagnetic complexes of gadolinium(III) with acyclic or macrocyclic chelates are the most commonly used contrast agents (CAs) for magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Their purpose is to enhance the relaxation rate of water protons in tissue, thus increasing the MR image contrast and the specificity of the MRI measurements. Current clinically approved contrast agents are low molecular weight molecules that are rapidly cleared from the body. The use of dendrimers as carriers of paramagnetic chelators can play an important role in the future development of more efficient MRI contrast agents. Specifically, the increase in local concentration of the paramagnetic species results in a higher signal contrast. Furthermore, this CA provides a longer tissue retention time due to its high molecular weight and size. Here, we demonstrate a convenient procedure for the preparation of macromolecular MRI contrast agents based on poly(amidoamine) (PAMAM) dendrimers with monomacrocyclic DOTA-type chelators (DOTA - 1,4,7,10-tetraazacyclododecane-1,4,7,10-tetraacetate). The chelating unit was appended by exploiting the reactivity of the isothiocyanate (NCS) group towards the amine surface groups of the PAMAM dendrimer to form thiourea bridges. Dendrimeric products were purified and analyzed by means of nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, mass spectrometry, and elemental analysis. Finally, high resolution MR images were recorded and the signal contrasts obtained from the prepared dendrimeric and the commercially available monomeric agents were compared.