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J Am Chem Soc. 2006 Nov 1;128(43):14032-3.

A PARACEST MRI contrast agent to detect enzyme activity.

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Department of Biomedical Engineering, Case Western Reserve University, 10900 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44106-7207, USA.


A "smart" PARACEST MRI contrast agent was synthesized to detect caspase-3, which is an important biomarker in apoptosis. The well-known caspase-3 substrate, DEVD (Asp-Glu-Val-Asp), was elongated using the amino group on one sidearm of lanthanide ligand anchored on the polymer support. The amide of DEVD-(Tm-DOTA) showed a PARACEST effect with MR saturation at -51 ppm. DEVD-(Tm-DOTA) amide was successfully cleaved by caspase-3, exposing the free amine group, which showed PARACEST with saturation at +8 ppm. The enzymatic activity of caspase-3 can be detected by the change in PARACEST effect caused by this biotransformation.

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