Fully Water-Soluble Polyphosphorhydrazone-Based Radical Dendrimers Functionalized with Tyr-PROXYL Radicals as Metal-Free MRI T1 Contrast Agents
Luiz F. Pinto, Vega Lloveras, Songbai Zhang, Flonja Liko, Jaume Veciana, José L. Muñoz-Gómez, José Vidal-Gancedo*. ACS Appl. Bio Mater. 2020, 3, 1, 369-376
Publication Date:December 24, 2019.
The finding of alternative imaging probes to Gadolinium (Gd) and other metal based contrast agents (CA) is crucial to overcome their established toxicity. Herein we describe the synthesis and characterization of an entirely organic metal-free magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) contrast agent based on polyphosphorhydrazone (PPH) dendrimers, fully functionalized with up to 48 organic nitroxide radical units. We propose an innovative synthetic procedure based on the use of an amino acid linker (Tyr) coupled to each dendrimer′s branch that permits the anchoring of the radicals and at the same time makes possible the control over their water solubility. We demonstrate that the negatively charged resulting PPH Gn-Tyr-PROXYL (n = 0–3) radical dendrimers are excellent candidates to be used as MRI contrast agents, suited for biomedical applications as they show high water solubility, no aggregation problems, and low cytotoxicity, as well as good stability in highly reducing environments. It is achieved a remarkable r1 relaxivity, ca. four times higher (13 mM–1 s–1) than the gold-standard Gd-DTPA used in clinics. Furthermore, the r1 and r2 relaxivity per unit of radical showed an increase with the increase in generation of dendrimers.
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