A polymeric fastener can easily functionalize liposome surfaces with gadolinium for enhanced magnetic resonance imaging

Cartney E. Smith, Artem Shkumatov, Sarah G. Withers, Binxia Yang, James F. Glockner, Sanjay Misra, Edward J. Roy, Chun Ho Wong, Steven C. Zimmerman, Hyunjoon Kong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

36 Scopus citations


Common methods of loading magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) contrast agents into nanoparticles often suffer from challenges related to particle formation, complex chemical modification/purification steps, and reduced contrast efficiency. This study presents a simple, yet advanced process to address these issues by loading gadolinium, an MRI contrast agent, exclusively on a liposome surface using a polymeric fastener. The fastener, so named for its ability to physically link the two functional components together, consisted of chitosan substituted with diethylenetriaminepentaacetic acid (DTPA) to chelate gadolinium, as well as octadecyl chains to stabilize the modified chitosan on the liposome surface. The assembly strategy, mimicking the mechanisms by which viruses and proteins naturally anchor to a cell, provided greater T1 relaxivity than liposomes loaded with gadolinium in both the interior and outer leaflet. Gadolinium-coated liposomes were ultimately evaluated in vivo using murine ischemia models to highlight the diagnostic capability of the system. Taken together, this process decouples particle assembly and functionalization and, therefore, has considerable potential to enhance imaging quality while alleviating many of the difficulties associated with multifunctional particle fabrication.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9599-9610
Number of pages12
JournalACS Nano
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 26 2013



  • MRI
  • adsorption
  • chitosan
  • contrast agent
  • gadolinium
  • liposome
  • relaxivity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Engineering(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)

Cite this

Smith, C. E., Shkumatov, A., Withers, S. G., Yang, B., Glockner, J. F., Misra, S., Roy, E. J., Wong, C. H., Zimmerman, S. C., & Kong, H. (2013). A polymeric fastener can easily functionalize liposome surfaces with gadolinium for enhanced magnetic resonance imaging. ACS Nano, 7(11), 9599-9610. https://doi.org/10.1021/nn4026228