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Open AccessArticle

Peptide-Based Soft Hydrogels Modified with Gadolinium Complexes as MRI Contrast Agents

1
IRCCS SDN, Via E. Gianturco 113, 80143 Napoli, Italy
2
Department of Pharmacy and Interuniversity Research Centre on Bioactive Peptides (CIRPeB), University of Naples “Federico II”, via Mezzocannone 16, 80134 Naples, Italy
3
Department of Molecular Biotechnology and Health Science, University of Turin, Via Nizza 52, 10125 Turin, Italy
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Pharmaceuticals 2020, 13(2), 19; https://doi.org/10.3390/ph13020019
Received: 10 December 2019 / Revised: 16 January 2020 / Accepted: 17 January 2020 / Published: 21 January 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Metal-Based Drugs: Updates and Perspectives)
Poly-aromatic peptide sequences are able to self-assemble into a variety of supramolecular aggregates such as fibers, hydrogels, and tree-like multi-branched nanostructures. Due to their biocompatible nature, these peptide nanostructures have been proposed for several applications in biology and nanomedicine (tissue engineering, drug delivery, bioimaging, and fabrication of biosensors). Here we report the synthesis, the structural characterization and the relaxometric behavior of two novel supramolecular diagnostic agents for magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technique. These diagnostic agents are obtained for self-assembly of DTPA(Gd)-PEG8-(FY)3 or DOTA(Gd)-PEG8-(FY)3 peptide conjugates, in which the Gd-complexes are linked at the N-terminus of the PEG8-(FY)3 polymer peptide. This latter was previously found able to form self-supporting and stable soft hydrogels at a concentration of 1.0% wt. Analogously, also DTPA(Gd)-PEG8-(FY)3 and DOTA(Gd)-PEG8-(FY)3 exhibit the trend to gelificate at the same range of concentration. Moreover, the structural characterization points out that peptide (FY)3 moiety keeps its capability to arrange into β-sheet structures with an antiparallel orientation of the β-strands. The high relaxivity value of these nanostructures (~12 mM−1·s−1 at 20 MHz) and the very low in vitro cytotoxicity suggest their potential application as supramolecular diagnostic agents for MRI. View Full-Text
Keywords: diagnostic agents; hydrogels; MRI contrast agents; peptide conjugates; in vitro cytotoxicity diagnostic agents; hydrogels; MRI contrast agents; peptide conjugates; in vitro cytotoxicity
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MDPI and ACS Style

Gallo, E.; Diaferia, C.; Di Gregorio, E.; Morelli, G.; Gianolio, E.; Accardo, A. Peptide-Based Soft Hydrogels Modified with Gadolinium Complexes as MRI Contrast Agents. Pharmaceuticals 2020, 13, 19.

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