Selective sensing of zinc ions with a novel magnetic resonance imaging contrast agent

Kenjiro Hanaoka, Kazuya Kikuchi, Yasuteru Urano, Tetsuo Nagano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

121 Citations (Scopus)


Light-based microscope imaging techniques using fluorescence sensor molecules suffer from photobleaching and light scattering, but magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) can provide three-dimensional imaging without these problems. Recently, “smart” MRI contrast agents which modulate the access of water to a chelated gadolinium (Gd3+) ion in the presence or absence of a specific trigger have been reported. Zinc (Zn2+) is an essential component of many enzymes, transcription factors and synaptic vesicles in excitatory nerve terminals, so imaging of chelatable Zn2+is of interest. We have designed and synthesized the Gd3+DTPA bisamide complex 7a as a Zn2+-sensitive MRI contrast agent. Compound 7a shows a dose-dependent change in the R1relaxivity in the presence of Zn2+. We investigated this relaxation behavior, and for this purpose we also synthesized the Gd3+DTPA amide ethyl ester complex 7b. It was shown that binding between 7a and Zn2+caused a change in the relaxation time. Moreover, 7a had high selectivity for Zn2+against Ca2+and Mg2+. Compound 7a may have practical problems for in vivo usage, since the R1relaxivity is reduced with increased Zn2+concentration. However, this report demonstrates new approaches to the design and synthesis of Gd3+complexes with R1values that change with variation in Zn2+concentration.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1840-1843
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of the Chemical Society. Perkin Transactions 2
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry


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