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Magn Reson Med. 2002 Jul;48(1):52-61.

Application of the static dephasing regime theory to superparamagnetic iron-oxide loaded cells.

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Department of Medical Biophysics, University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada.


The relaxation rates of iron-oxide nanoparticles compartmentalized within cells were studied and found to satisfy predictions of the static dephasing (SD) regime theory. THP-1 cells in cell culture were loaded using two different iron-oxide nanoparticles (superparamagnetic iron-oxide (SPIO) and ultrasmall SPIO (USPIO)) with four different iron concentrations (0.05, 0.1, 0.2, and 0.3 mg/ml) and for five different incubation times (6, 12, 24, 36, and 48 hr). Cellular iron-oxide uptake was assessed using a newly developed imaging version of MR susceptometry, and was found to be linear with both dose and incubation time. R(2)* sensitivity to iron-oxide loaded cells was found to be 70 times greater than for R(2), and 3100 times greater than for R(1). This differs greatly from uniformly distributed nanoparticles and is consistent with a cellular bulk magnetic susceptibility (BMS) relaxation mechanism. The cellular magnetic moment was large enough that R(2)' relaxivity agreed closely with SD regime theory predictions for all cell samples tested [R(2)'=2 pi/(9 x the square root of 3) x gamma LMD] where the local magnetic dose (LMD) is the sample magnetization due to the presence of iron-oxide particles). Uniform suspensions of SPIO and USPIO produced R(2)' relaxivities that were a factor of 3 and 8 less, respectively, than SD regime theory predictions. These results are consistent with theoretical estimates of the required mass of iron per compartment needed to guarantee SD-regime-dominant relaxivity. For cellular samples, R(2) was shown to be dependent on both the concentration and distribution of iron-oxide particles, while R(2)' was sensitive to iron-oxide concentration alone. This work is an important first step in quantifying cellular iron content and ultimately mapping the density of a targeted cell population.

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