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Phys Med Biol. 2003 Mar 21;48(6):N89-95.

Detection limits for ferrimagnetic particle concentrations using magnetic resonance imaging based proton transverse relaxation rate measurements.

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  • 1School of Physics, The University of Western Australia, Crawley, Perth, WA 6009, Australia.


A clinical magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) system was used to measure proton transverse relaxation rates (R2) in agar gels with varying concentrations of ferrimagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles in a field strength of 1.5 T. The nanoparticles were prepared by coprecipitation of ferric and ferrous ions in the presence of either dextran or polyvinyl alcohol. The method of preparation resulted in loosely packed clusters (dextran) or branched chains (polyvinyl alcohol) of particles containing of the order of 600 and 400 particles, respectively. For both methods of particle preparation, concentrations of ferrimagnetic iron in agar gel less than 0.01 mg ml(-1) had no measurable effect on the value of R2 for the gel. The results indicate that MRI-based R2 measurements using 1.5 T clinical scanners are not quite sensitive enough to detect the very low concentrations of nanoparticulate biogenic magnetite reported in human brain tissue.

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