PLoS By Category | Recent PLoS Articles

Radiology and Medical Imaging

Quasi-Cubic Magnetite/Silica Core-Shell Nanoparticles as Enhanced MRI Contrast Agents for Cancer Imaging
Published: Friday, July 01, 2011
Author: Jos L. Campbell et al.

by Jos L. Campbell, Jyoti Arora, Simon F. Cowell, Ashish Garg, Peter Eu, Suresh K. Bhargava, Vipul Bansal

Development of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) contrast agents that can be readily applied for imaging of biological tissues under clinical settings is a challenging task. This is predominantly due to the expectation of an ideal MR agent being able to be synthesized in large quantities, possessing longer shelf life, reasonable biocompatibility, tolerance against its aggregation in biological fluids, and high relaxivity, resulting in better contrast during biological imaging. Although a repertoire of reports address various aforementioned issues, the previously reported results are far from optimal, which necessitates further efforts in this area. In this study, we demonstrate facile large-scale synthesis of sub-100 nm quasi-cubic magnetite and magnetite/silica core-shell (Mag@SiO2) nanoparticles and their applicability as a biocompatible T2 contrast agent for MRI of biological tissues. Our study suggests that silica-coated magnetite nanoparticles reported in this study can potentially act as improved MR contrast agents by addressing a number of aforementioned issues, including longer shelf life and stability in biological fluids. Additionally, our in vitro and in vivo studies clearly demonstrate the importance of silica coating towards improved applicability of T2 contrast agents for cancer imaging.