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A Responsive MRI Contrast Agent for Detection of Excess copper(II) in the Liver in Vivo

submitted on 19.11.2018, 15:20 and posted on 20.11.2018, 13:18 by Namini Paranawithana, Andre F. Martins, Veronica Clavijo-Jordan, Piyu Zhao, Sara Chirayil, Gabriele Meloni, Dean Sherry

The design, synthesis, and properties of a new gadolinium-based copper-responsive MRI contrast agents are presented in detail here. The sensor (GdL1) has high selectivity for copper ions and exhibits a 47% increase in r1 relaxivity upon binding to 1 equivalent of Cu2+ in aqueous buffer. Interestingly, in the presence of physiological levels of human serum albumin (HSA), the r1 relaxivity is amplified even further up to 270%. Additional spectroscopic and XAS studies show that Cu2+ is coordinated by two carboxylic acid groups and the single amine group on an appended side-chain of GdL1 and forms a ternary complex with HSA (GdL1-Cu2+-HSA). T1-weighted in vivo imaging demonstrates that GdL1 can detect basal, endogenous labile copper(II) ions in living mice. This offers a unique opportunity to explore the role of copper ions in the development and progression of neurological diseases such as Wilson disease.


NIH DK-095416

NIH EB-015908

Robert A. Welch AT-584

Robert A. Welch At-1935


Email Address of Submitting Author


University of Texas at Dallas and University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center



ORCID For Submitting Author


Declaration of Conflict of Interest

No conflicts


Read the published paper

in Journal of the American Chemical Society

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