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Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2016, 17(8), 1209; doi:10.3390/ijms17081209

Liposomes Loaded with Hydrophobic Iron Oxide Nanoparticles: Suitable T2 Contrast Agents for MRI

Department of Pharmacy, Pharmaceutical Technology and Physical Chemistry, IN2UB, Faculty of Pharmacy, Avda Joan XXIII, 27-31, 08028 Barcelona, Spain
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Academic Editors: Vladimir Sivakov and Athanasios Salifoglou
Received: 3 June 2016 / Revised: 19 July 2016 / Accepted: 20 July 2016 / Published: 27 July 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Inorganic Nanostructures in Biological Systems)
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Abstract

There has been a recent surge of interest in the use of superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles (SPIONs) as contrast agents (CAs) for magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), due to their tunable properties and their low toxicity compared with other CAs such as gadolinium. SPIONs exert a strong influence on spin-spin T2 relaxation times by decreasing the MR signal in the regions to which they are delivered, consequently yielding darker images or negative contrast. Given the potential of these nanoparticles to enhance detection of alterations in soft tissues, we studied the MRI response of hydrophobic or hydrophilic SPIONs loaded into liposomes (magnetoliposomes) of different lipid composition obtained by sonication. These hybrid nanostructures were characterized by measuring several parameters such as size and polydispersity, and number of SPIONs encapsulated or embedded into the lipid systems. We then studied the influence of acyl chain length as well as its unsaturation, charge, and presence of cholesterol in the lipid bilayer at high field strength (7 T) to mimic the conditions used in preclinical assays. Our results showed a high variability depending on the nature of the magnetic particles. Focusing on the hydrophobic SPIONs, the cholesterol-containing samples showed a slight reduction in r2, while unsaturation of the lipid acyl chain and inclusion of a negatively charged lipid into the bilayer appeared to yield a marked increase in negative contrast, thus rendering these magnetoliposomes suitable candidates as CAs, especially as a liver CA. View Full-Text
Keywords: magnetoliposomes; hydrophobic Super Paramagnetic Iron Oxide Nanoparticles (SPIONs); Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI); relaxivities; contrast agents magnetoliposomes; hydrophobic Super Paramagnetic Iron Oxide Nanoparticles (SPIONs); Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI); relaxivities; contrast agents
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Martínez-González, R.; Estelrich, J.; Busquets, M.A. Liposomes Loaded with Hydrophobic Iron Oxide Nanoparticles: Suitable T2 Contrast Agents for MRI. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2016, 17, 1209.

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