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J Am Chem Soc. 2006 Jun 7;128(22):7383-9.

Antibiofouling polymer-coated superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles as potential magnetic resonance contrast agents for in vivo cancer imaging.

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Department of Life Science, Gwangju Institute of Science and Technology (GIST), 1 Oryoung-dong, Buk-gu, Gwangju 500-712, Republic of Korea.


We report the fabrication and characterization of antifouling polymer-coated magnetic nanoparticles as nanoprobes for magnetic resonance (MR) contrast agents. Magnetite superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles (SPION) were coated with the protein- or cell-resistant polymer, poly(TMSMA-r-PEGMA), to generate stable, protein-resistant MR probes. Coated magnetic nanoparticles synthesized using two different preparation methods (in situ and stepwise, respectively) were both well dispersed in PBS buffer at a variety of pH conditions (pH 1-10). In addition, dynamic light scattering data revealed that their sizes were not altered even after 24 h of incubation in 10% serum containing cell culture medium, indicative of a lack of protein adsorption on their surfaces. When the antibiofouling polymer-coated SPION were incubated with macrophage cells, uptake was significantly lower in comparison to that of the popular contrast agent, Feridex I.V., suggesting that the polymer-coated SPION can be long-circulated in plasma by escaping from uptake by the reticular endothelial system (RES) such as macrophages. Indeed, when the coated SPION were administered to tumor xenograft mice by intravenous injection, the tumor could be detected in T2-weighted MR images within 1 h as a result of the accumulation of the nanomagnets within the tumor site. Although the poly(TMSMA-r-PEGMA)-coated SPION do not have any targeting ligands on their surface, they are potentially useful for cancer diagnosis in vivo.

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