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Clusters of SPIONs encapsulated in a hydrogel: An particle architecture generating a synergetic enhancement of the T2 relaxation

C. Paquet, H.W. de Haan, H.Y. Lin, B. Xiang, D.M. Leek, A. Kell, G. Tian, B. Simard
National Research Council, CA

Keywords: T2 relaxation, superparamagnetic nanoparticles, hydrogel


Our work integrates experimental results with Monte Carlo simulations to demonstrate that coating magnetic particles with a hydrogel dramatically increases the T2 relaxivity, thereby rendering the particles a more efficient MRI contrast agent. By using a novel structure consisting of clusters of superparamagnetic nanoparticles encapsulated in a pH-responsive hydrogel, we illustrate the effects of the hydrophilic coating. First, we clearly demonstrate that an enhancement of up to 85 % in the relaxivity can be achieved by coating the particles in a hydrogel. Second, by controlling the pH, we demonstrate that the enhancement in the relaxivity depends on the thickness of the coating and the diffusion coefficient of water within the coating. Third, using Monte Carlo simulations we confirm the mechanism for this enhancement; the hydrogel coating causes a decrease in the diffusion coefficient of water near the surface of the particle, thereby increasing the interaction time between the water protons and the magnetic field generated by the particles.
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