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Paper of the month

Outstanding MRI contrast with dysprosium phosphate nanoparticles of tuneable size


Elisabet Gómez González, Carlos Caro, María L. García Martín, Ana Isabel Becerro y Manuel Ocaña Nanoscale 2022, Vol. 14, 11461

The use of high-field magnets for magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is expected to experience the fastest growth rate during the present decade. Although several CAs for MRI scanners using high magnetic fields have been reported, they are mostly based on fluoride matrices, which are known for their low chemical stability in aqueous suspensions.

Chemically stable MRI CAs for high-field magnets are therefore needed to enable the advances in MRI technique. Herein, we synthesized uniform DyPO4 nanoparticles (NPs) with tuneable sizes between 23 and 57 nm using homogeneous precipitation in butanol. The NPs were successfully functionalized with polyacrylic acid (PAA) and showed good colloidal stability in aqueous suspensions.

Chemical stability was also assessed in PBS, showing negligible solubility. The effect of particle size on the transversal relaxivity value (r2) was further explored at 9.4 T, finding a clear increase in r2 with particle size. The r2 value found for the largest NPs was 516 mM−1 s−1, which is, to the best of our knowledge, the highest r2 value ever reported at 9.4 T for any Dy-based nanometric particles in the literature.

Finally, the latter NPs were submitted to biosafety studies after polyethylene glycol (PEG) functionalization. Cell morphology, induction of necrotic/late apoptotic cells, and mitochondrial activity were thoroughly analyzed. The results clearly indicated negligible toxicity effects under the assayed conditions. Short- and long-term in vivo pharmacokinetics of the intravenously injected NPs were assessed by dynamic T2-weighted MRI and quantitative T2 mapping, revealing faster liver than spleen uptake, while no accumulation was observed in the kidneys. Finally, no histopathological changes were observed in any of the studied organs, including the liver, kidney, spleen, and lung, which provide further evidence of the biocompatibility of DyPO4 NPs and, therefore, their suitability as bioimaging probes.


Elisabet Gómez en el laboratorio