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Bioconjug Chem. 2014 Jun 18;25(6):1112-23. doi: 10.1021/bc5001356. Epub 2014 Jun 3.

Inflammation targeted Gd(3+)-based MRI contrast agents imaging tumor and rheumatoid arthritis models.

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  • 1Department of Applied Biology and Chemical Technology, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University , Hung Hom, Kowloon, Hong Kong, China.


Inflammatory responses are closely related to cancer progression and several diseases. Anti-inflammatory drugs that bind to inducible enzymes can be used as biomarkers for molecular imaging. Selective targeted contrast agents are expected to improve contrast-to-noise ratio (CNR) in MRI at the site of inflammation. In this work, three new Gd(3+) DO3A-amide MRI contrast agents (CAs) that conjugated to mefenamic acid (MA), a commonly used nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), through different linkers, ethylenediamine (GdL1), 2,2'-oxidiethylamine (GdL2) and 4,7,10-trioxa-1,13-tridecanediamine (GdL3) were studied. Their relaxivities were GdL1 (4.74 mM(-1) s(-1)), GdL2 (4.77 mM(-1) s(-1)), and GdL3 (4.95 mM(-1) s(-1)) at 400 MHz at 25 °C. Their serum albumin binding properties were studied by tryptophan emission-quenching experiments, with GdL1 showing a preferential binding toward HSA and BSA as compared with GdL2 and GdL3. They showed low cytotoxicities toward HeLa cells at high concentration (0.5 mM) and high cellular uptake in U87 cells as compared with GdDOTA. In vivo MRI showed increased T1-weighted contrast after intravenous injection of the agents. Moreover, T1 contrast was significantly enhanced for 1.5 h in the U87 tumor model and 2 h in the arthritis joint in adjuvant-induced arthritis (AIA) model at dosages of 0.1 and 0.03 mmol/kg, respectively. Most of the agents were cleared at 24 h post-administration in the AIA model with no observable T1 contrast. GdL1-3 showed superior retentions and intensity enhancements (IEs) at the kidney, liver, tumor, and arthritis joint to those of GdDOTA. GdL3 showed the highest relaxivity and IE at the arthritis joint and is therefore a potential candidate to be developed as MRI CAs that target inflammation.

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