bims-mricoa Biomed News
on MRI contrast agents
Issue of 2021‒08‒22
eight papers selected by
Merve Yavuz
Bilkent University

  1. Nano Lett. 2021 Aug 19.
      The contactless heating capacity of magnetic nanoparticles (MNPs) has been exploited in fields such as hyperthermia cancer therapy, catalysis, and enzymatic thermal regulation. Herein, we propose an advanced technology to generate multiple local temperatures in a single-pot reactor by exploiting the unique nanoheating features of iron oxide MNPs exposed to alternating magnetic fields (AMFs). The heating power of the MNPs depends on their magnetic features but also on the intensity and frequency conditions of the AMF. Using a mixture of diluted colloids of MNPs we were able to generate a multi-hot-spot reactor in which each population of MNPs can be selectively activated by adjusting the AMF conditions. The maximum temperature reached at the surface of each MNP was registered using independent fluorescent thermometers that mimic the molecular link between enzymes and MNPs. This technology paves the path for the implementation of a selective regulation of multienzymatic reactions.
    Keywords:  Enzymes; Hot spot; Iron oxide; Local temperature; Magnetic nanoparticles; Molecular thermometers; Nanothermometry; Thermal regulation
  2. Adv Healthc Mater. 2021 Aug 19. e2101019
      Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is one of the most powerful non-invasive imaging modalities used in clinics due to its great spatial resolution and excellent soft-tissue contrast, though still less sensitive than other techniques such as the nuclear imaging modalities. This lack of sensitivity can be improved with the use of contrast agents based on nanomaterials. In recent years, researchers have focused on the development of magnetic nanoparticles, given their role as enhancers of the contrast signal based on the magnetic resonance. Manganese ferrite nanoparticles stand out, given their high magnetic susceptibility and magnetic soft nature. Herein, 10 nm MnFe2 O4 nanoparticles, functionalized with the natural antioxidant vitamin E (VitE-MFO) are encapsulated into simple, biodegradable and non-toxic nanoemulsions (NEs), by a reproducible one-step method obtaining stable 150 nm-sized magnetic nanoemulsions (VitE-MFO-NEs). After encapsulation, the superparamagnetic properties of VitE-MFO are maintained and MR imaging studies reveal an extremely high transverse relaxivity for VitE-MFO-NEs (652.9 × 10-3  m-1  s-1 ), twofold higher than VitE-MFO value. Moreover, VitE-MFO-NEs show great in vivo biocompatibility and good signal in in vivo and ex vivo MRI, which indicates their great potential for biomedical imaging enhancing the negative MR contrast and significantly improving the sensitivity of MRI.
    Keywords:  magnetic resonance imaging; nanoemulsions; sphingomyelin; superparamagnetic manganese-ferrite nanoparticles; transverse relaxivity; vitamin E
  3. Korean J Radiol. 2021 Jul 26.
      OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the magnetic resonance (MR) characteristics and applicability of new, uniform, extremely small iron-based nanoparticles (ESIONs) with 3-4-nm iron cores using contrast-enhanced magnetic resonance angiography (MRA).MATERIALS AND METHODS: Seven types of ESIONs were used in phantom and animal experiments with 1.5T, 3T, and 4.7T scanners. The MR characteristics of the ESIONs were evaluated via phantom experiments. With the ESIONs selected by the phantom experiments, animal experiments were performed on eight rabbits. In the animal experiments, the in vivo kinetics and enhancement effect of the ESIONs were evaluated using half-diluted and non-diluted ESIONs. The between-group differences were assessed using a linear mixed model. A commercially available gadolinium-based contrast agent (GBCA) was used as a control.
    RESULTS: All ESIONs showed a good T1 shortening effect and were applicable for MRA at 1.5T and 3T. The relaxivity ratio of the ESIONs increased with increasing magnetic field strength. In the animal experiments, the ESIONs showed peak signal intensity on the first-pass images and persistent vascular enhancement until 90 minutes. On the 1-week follow-up images, the ESIONs were nearly washed out from the vascular structures and organs. The peak signal intensity on the first-pass images showed no significant difference between the non-diluted ESIONs with 3-mm iron cores and GBCA (p = 1.000). On the 10-minutes post-contrast images, the non-diluted ESIONs showed a significantly higher signal intensity than did the GBCA (p < 0.001).
    CONCLUSION: In the phantom experiments, the ESIONs with 3-4-nm iron oxide cores showed a good T1 shortening effect at 1.5T and 3T. In the animal experiments, the ESIONs with 3-nm iron cores showed comparable enhancement on the first-pass images and superior enhancement effect on the delayed images compared to the commercially available GBCA at 3T.
    Keywords:  Blood pool contrast agent; Contrast enhancement; Iron oxide nanoparticle; Magnetic resonance angiography
  4. Environ Sci Pollut Res Int. 2021 Aug 19.
      The increasing demand for food in the world has made sustainable agriculture practices even more important. Nanotechnology applications in many areas have also been used in sustainable agriculture in recent years for the purposes to improve plant yield, pest control, etc. However, ecotoxicology and environmental safety of nanoparticles must be evaluated before large-scale applications. This study comparatively explores the efficacy and fate of different iron oxide NPs (γ-Fe2O3-maghemite and Fe3O4-magnetite) on barley (Hordeum vulgare L.). Various NP doses (50, 100, and 200 mg/L) were applied to the seeds in hydroponic medium for 3 weeks. Results revealed that γ-Fe2O3 and Fe3O4 NPs significantly improved the germination rate (~37% for γ-Fe2O3; ~63% for Fe3O4), plant biomass, and pigmentation (P < 0.005). Compared to the control, the iron content of tissues gradually raised by the increasing NPs doses revealing their translocation, which is confirmed by VSM analysis as well. The findings suggest that γ-Fe2O3 and Fe3O4 NPs have great potential to improve barley growth. They can be recommended for breeding programs as nanofertilizers. However, special care should be paid before the application due to their unknown effects on other living beings.
    Keywords:  Barley; Iron oxide; Maghemite; Magnetic nanoparticle; Magnetite; Mineral uptake
  5. ACS Nano. 2021 Aug 20.
      Synthetic biology centers on the design and modular assembly of biological parts so as to construct artificial biological systems. Over the past decade, synthetic biology has blossomed into a highly productive field, yielding advances in diverse areas such as neuroscience, cell-based therapies, and chemical manufacturing. Similarly, the field of gene therapy has made enormous strides both in proof-of-concept studies and in the clinical setting. One viral vector of increasing interest for gene therapy is the adenovirus (Ad). A major part of the Ad's increasing momentum comes from synthetic biology approaches to Ad engineering. Convergence of gene therapy and synthetic biology has enhanced Ad vectors by mitigating Ad toxicity in vivo, providing precise Ad tropisms, and incorporating genetic circuits to make smart therapies which adapt to environmental stimuli. Synthetic biology engineering of Ad vectors may lead to superior gene delivery and editing platforms which could find applications in a wide range of therapeutic contexts.
    Keywords:  CRISPR; adenovirus; gene therapy; genetic circuits; protein engineering; synthetic biology; viral capsids; viral tropisms
  6. Adv Mater. 2021 Aug 15. e2102691
      The advent of functional materials offers tremendous potential in a broad variety of areas such as electronics, robotics, and energy devices. Magnetic materials are an attractive candidate that enable multifunctional devices with capabilities in both sensing and actuation. However, current magnetic devices, especially those with complex motion modalities, rely on permanently magnetized materials with complicated, non-uniform magnetization profiles. Here, based on magnetic materials with temporary-magnetization, a mechanically guided assembly process successfully converts laser-patterned 2D magnetic materials into judiciously engineered 3D structures, with dimensions and geometries ranging from mesoscale 3D filaments, to arrayed centimeter-scale 3D membranes. With tailorable mechanical properties and highly adjustable geometries, 3D soft structures can exhibit various tethered locomotions under the precise control of magnetic fields, including local deformation, unidirectional tilting, and omnidirectional rotation, and can serve as dynamic surfaces for further integration with other functional materials or devices. Examples demonstrated here focus on energy-harvesting systems, including 3D piezoelectric devices for noncontact conversion of mechanical energy and active motion sensing, as well as 3D solar tracking systems. The design strategy and resulting magnetic-controlled 3D soft structures hold great promise not only for enhanced energy harvesting, but also for multimodal sensing, robotic interfaces, and biomedical devices.
    Keywords:  3D assembly; energy harvesting; robotic structures; soft actuators; temporary-magnetization
  7. PLoS One. 2021 ;16(8): e0256252
      Recently, there has been a renewed interest in low-field MRI. Contrast agents (CA) in MRI have magnetic behavior dependent on magnetic field strength. Therefore, the optimal contrast agent for low-field MRI might be different from what is used at higher fields. Ultra-small superparamagnetic iron-oxides (USPIOs), commonly used as negative CA, might also be used for generating positive contrast in low-field MRI. The purpose of this study was to determine whether an USPIO or a gadolinium based contrast agent is more appropriate at low field strengths. Relaxivity values of ferumoxytol (USPIO) and gadoterate (gadolinium based) were used in this research to simulate normalized signal intensity (SI) curves within a concentration range of 0-15 mM. Simulations were experimentally validated on a 0.25T MRI scanner. Simulations and experiments were performed using spin echo (SE), spoiled gradient echo (SGE), and balanced steady-state free precession (bSSFP) sequences. Maximum achievable SIs were assessed for both CAs in a range of concentrations on all sequences. Simulations at 0.25T showed a peak in SIs at low concentrations ferumoxytol versus a wide top at higher concentrations for gadoterate in SE and SGE. Experiments agreed well with the simulations in SE and SGE, but less in the bSSFP sequence due to overestimated relaxivities in simulations. At low magnetic field strengths, ferumoxytol generates similar signal enhancement at lower concentrations than gadoterate.
  8. Sci Robot. 2021 Aug 18. pii: eabg0656. [Epub ahead of print]6(57):
      We live in an era of wearable sensing, where our movement through the world can be continuously monitored by devices. Yet, we lack a portable sensor that can continuously monitor muscle, tendon, and bone motion, allowing us to monitor performance, deliver targeted rehabilitation, and provide intuitive, reflexive control over prostheses and exoskeletons. Here, we introduce a sensing modality, magnetomicrometry, that uses the relative positions of implanted magnetic beads to enable wireless tracking of tissue length changes. We demonstrate real-time muscle length tracking in an in vivo turkey model via chronically implanted magnetic beads while investigating accuracy, biocompatibility, and long-term implant stability. We anticipate that this tool will lay the groundwork for volitional control over wearable robots via real-time tracking of muscle lengths and speeds. Further, to inform future biomimetic control strategies, magnetomicrometry may also be used in the in vivo tracking of biological tissues to elucidate biomechanical principles of animal and human movement.