Journal article Open Access

Uncovering the Magnetic Particle Imaging and Magnetic Resonance Imaging Features of Iron Oxide Nanocube Clusters

Sahitya Kumar Avugadda; SameeraWickramasinghe; Dina Niculaes; Minseon Ju; Aidin Lak; Niccolò Silvestri; Simone Nitti; Ipsita Roy; Anna Cristina S. Samia; Teresa Pellegrino

Multifunctional imaging nanoprobes continue to garner strong interest for their great
potential in the detection and monitoring of cancer. In this study, we investigate a series of spatially
arranged iron oxide nanocube-based clusters (i.e., chain-like dimer/trimer, centrosymmetric clusters,
and enzymatically cleavable two-dimensional clusters) as magnetic particle imaging and magnetic
resonance imaging probes. Our findings demonstrate that the short nanocube chain assemblies
exhibit remarkable magnetic particle imaging signal enhancement with respect to the individually
dispersed or the centrosymmetric cluster analogues. This result can be attributed to the beneficial
uniaxial magnetic dipolar coupling occurring in the chain-like nanocube assembly. Moreover, we
could effectively synthesize enzymatically cleavable two-dimensional nanocube clusters, which upon
exposure to a lytic enzyme, exhibit a progressive increase in magnetic particle imaging signal at
well-defined incubation time points. The increase in magnetic particle imaging signal can be used to
trace the disassembly of the large planar clusters into smaller nanocube chains by enzymatic polymer
degradation. These studies demonstrate that chain-like assemblies of iron oxide nanocubes offer the
best spatial arrangement to improve magnetic particle imaging signals. In addition, the nanocube
clusters synthesized in this study also show remarkable transverse magnetic resonance imaging
relaxation signals. These nanoprobes, previously showcased for their outstanding heat performance
in magnetic hyperthermia applications, have great potential as dual imaging probes and could be
employed to improve the tumor thermo-therapeutic efficacy, while offering a readable magnetic
signal for image mapping of material disassemblies at tumor sites.

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