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Author Notes:

Corresponding author: Hui Mao, PhD, Department of Radiology and Imaging Sciences, Emory University School of Medicine, 1364 Clifton Road, Atlanta, Georgia 30322, USA. Phone: (404) 712-0357. Fax: (404) 712-5948. Email: hmao@emory.edu.

The authors have declared that no conflict of interest exists.


Research Funding:

This work was supported in part by the following research grants from the National Institute of Health: P50CA128301-03 (HM and LY), U01CA151810-01 (LY and HM) and 1R01CA154846-01A1 (HM and LY).


  • magnetic nanoparticles
  • engineering
  • functionalizing
  • magnetic resonance imaging

Improving the Magnetic Resonance Imaging Contrast and Detection Methods with Engineered Magnetic Nanoparticles


Journal Title:



Volume 2, Number 1


, Pages 86-102

Type of Work:

Article | Final Publisher PDF


Engineering and functionalizing magnetic nanoparticles have been an area of the extensive research and development in the biomedical and nanomedicine fields. Because their biocompatibility and toxicity are well investigated and better understood, magnetic nanoparticles, especially iron oxide nanoparticles, are better suited materials as contrast agents for magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and for image-directed delivery of therapeutics. Given tunable magnetic properties and various surface chemistries from the coating materials, most applications of engineered magnetic nanoparticles take advantages of their superb MRI contrast enhancing capability as well as surface functionalities. It has been found that MRI contrast enhancement by magnetic nanoparticles is highly dependent on the composition, size and surface properties as well as the degree of aggregation of the nanoparticles. Therefore, understanding the relationships between these intrinsic parameters and the relaxivities that contribute to MRI contrast can lead to establishing essential guidance that may direct the design of engineered magnetic nanoparticles for theranostics applications. On the other hand, new contrast mechanism and imaging strategy can be developed based on the novel properties of engineered magnetic nanoparticles. This review will focus on discussing the recent findings on some chemical and physical properties of engineered magnetic nanoparticles affecting the relaxivities as well as the impact on MRI contrast. Furthermore, MRI methods for imaging magnetic nanoparticles including several newly developed MRI approaches aiming at improving the detection and quantification of the engineered magnetic nanoparticles are described.

Copyright information:

© 2012 Ivyspring International Publisher.

This is an Open Access work distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommerical-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/).

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