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Acta Radiol. 2010 Sep;51(7):751-67. doi: 10.3109/02841851.2010.491091.

Macromolecular and dendrimer-based magnetic resonance contrast agents.

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  • 1Radiation Oncology Branch, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.


Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a powerful imaging modality that can provide an assessment of function or molecular expression in tandem with anatomic detail. Over the last 20-25 years, a number of gadolinium-based MR contrast agents have been developed to enhance signal by altering proton relaxation properties. This review explores a range of these agents from small molecule chelates, such as Gd-DTPA and Gd-DOTA, to macromolecular structures composed of albumin, polylysine, polysaccharides (dextran, inulin, starch), poly(ethylene glycol), copolymers of cystamine and cystine with GD-DTPA, and various dendritic structures based on polyamidoamine and polylysine (Gadomers). The synthesis, structure, biodistribution, and targeting of dendrimer-based MR contrast agents are also discussed.

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