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Ratiometric Method for Rapid Monitoring of Biological Processes Using Bioresponsive MRI Contrast Agents

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journal contribution
posted on 09.03.2016, 19:34 by Serhat Gündüz, Tanja Savić, Rolf Pohmann, Nikos K. Logothetis, Klaus Scheffler, Goran Angelovski
Bioresponsive magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) contrast agents hold great potential for noninvasive tracking of essential biological processes. Consequently, a number of MR sensors for several imaging protocols have been developed, attempting to produce the maximal signal difference for a given event. Here we introduce an approach which could substantially improve the detection of physiological events with fast kinetics. We developed a nanosized, calcium-sensitive dendrimeric probe that changes longitudinal and transverse relaxation times with different magnitudes. The change in their ratio is rapidly recorded by means of a balanced steady-state free precession (bSSFP) imaging protocol. The employed methodology results in an almost four times greater signal gain per unit of time as compared to conventional T1-weighted imaging with small sized contrast agents. Furthermore, it is suitable for high resolution functional MRI at high magnetic fields. This methodology could evolve into a valuable tool for rapid monitoring of various biological events.