Magnetic nanoparticles for MR imaging: agents, techniques and cardiovascular applications
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- Sosnovik, D.E., Nahrendorf, M. & Weissleder, R. Basic Res Cardiol (2008) 103: 122. doi:10.1007/s00395-008-0710-7
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Magnetic nanoparticles (MNP) are playing an increasingly important role in cardiovascular molecular imaging. These agents are superparamagnetic and consist of a central core of iron-oxide surrounded by a carbohydrate or polymer coat. The size, physical properties and pharmacokinetics of MNP make them highly suited to cellular and molecular imaging of atherosclerotic plaque and myocardial injury. MNP have a sensitivity in the nanomolar range and can be detected with T1, T2, T2*, off resonance and steady state free precession sequences. Targeted imaging with MNP is being actively explored and can be achieved through either surface modification or through the attachment of an affinity ligand to the nanoparticle. First generation MNP are already in clinical use and second generation agents, with longer blood half lives, are likely to be approved for routine clinical use in the near future.