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Ultrasmall water-soluble metal-iron oxide nanoparticles as T1-weighted contrast agents for magnetic resonance imaging

Ultrasmall water-soluble metal-iron oxide nanoparticles as T1-weighted
contrast agents for magnetic resonance imaging


Abstract


Using an improved hydrolysis method of inorganic salts assisted with water-bath incubation, ultrasmall water-soluble metal-iron oxide nanoparticles (including Fe3O4, ZnFe2O4 and NiFe2O4 nanoparticles) were synthesized in aqueous solutions, which were used as T1-weighted contrast agents for magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). The morphology, structure, MRI relaxation properties and cytotoxicity of the as-prepared metal-iron oxide nanoparticles were characterized, respectively. The results showed that the average sizes of nanoparticles were about 4 nm, 4 nm and 5 nm for Fe3O4, ZnFe2O4 and NiFe2O4 nanoparticles, respectively. Moreover, the nanoparticles have good water dispersibility and low cytotoxicity. The MRI test showed the strong T1-weighted, but the weak T2-weighted MRI performance of metal-iron oxide nanoparticles. The high T1-weighted MRI performance can be attributed to the ultrasmall size of metal-iron oxide nanoparticles. Therefore, the as-prepared metal-iron oxide nanoparticles with good water dispersibility and ultrasmall size can have potential applications as T1-weighted contrast agent materials for MRI.

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