Published June 4, 2024 | Version v1
Journal article Open

MRI-based sensing of pH-responsive content release from mesoporous silica nanoparticles


A proof of principle study toward developing a novel methodology which could be applicable for a non-invasive monitoring of the release of cargo molecules from therapeutic and diagnostic nanoparticles, as well as for possible monitoring of tissue pH variations. This was achieved by quantifying changes in longitudinal relaxation time (T1) before and after the pH-responsive release of contrast agents, for magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), from the pores of mesoporous silica nanoparticles (MSNs). The pores were filled with the FDA-approved contrast agent Gadobutrol (GdB), and its retention inside the pores ensured by covalent attachment of β-cyclodextrin monoaldehyde to hydrazine-functionalized MSN, through acidification-cleavable hydrazone linkage. The release kinetics of GdB was measured by fluorescence spectroscopy which revealed that the release of the contrast agent was enhanced at pH 5.0 in comparison to the release at pH 6.0 and 7.4. Furthermore, the changes in T1, occurring in response to the enhanced release of GdB from the pores of MSN at weakly acidic conditions, were successfully demonstrated by MRI measurements. It is envisioned that this approach using contrast agent-loaded nanoparticles before the treatment with the drug-filled analogs, could be applied in the future for tracking the locations and efficacies of nanomedicines for therapeutic cargo delivery.



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NANOFACTS – Networking Activities for Nanotechnology-Facilitated Cancer Theranostics 952259
European Commission
REACT – REsponsive theranostic nanosystems for Advanced Cancer Treatment 758887
European Commission