Development of europium doped core-shell silica cobalt ferrite functionalized nanoparticles for magnetic resonance imaging

Bhavesh D. Kevadiya, Aditya N. Bade, Christopher Woldstad, Benson J. Edagwa, Jo Ellyn M. McMillan, Balasrinivasa R. Sajja, Michael D. Boska, Howard E. Gendelman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


The size, shape and chemical composition of europium (Eu3+) cobalt ferrite (CFEu) nanoparticles were optimized for use as a “multimodal imaging nanoprobe” for combined fluorescence and magnetic resonance bioimaging. Doping Eu3+ ions into a CF structure imparts unique bioimaging and magnetic properties to the nanostructure that can be used for real-time screening of targeted nanoformulations for tissue biodistribution assessment. The CFEu nanoparticles (size ∼7.2 nm) were prepared by solvothermal techniques and encapsulated into poloxamer 407-coated mesoporous silica (Si-P407) to form superparamagnetic monodisperse Si-CFEu nanoparticles with a size of ∼140 nm. Folic acid (FA) nanoparticle decoration (FA-Si-CFEu, size ∼140 nm) facilitated monocyte-derived macrophage (MDM) targeting. FA-Si-CFEu MDM uptake and retention was higher than seen with Si-CFEu nanoparticles. The transverse relaxivity of both Si-CFEu and FA-Si-CFEu particles were r2 = 433.42 mM−1 s−1 and r2 = 419.52 mM−1 s−1 (in saline) and r2 = 736.57 mM−1 s−1 and r2 = 814.41 mM−1 s−1 (in MDM), respectively. The results were greater than a log order-of-magnitude than what was observed at replicate iron concentrations for ultrasmall superparamagnetic iron oxide (USPIO) particles (r2 = 31.15 mM−1 s−1 in saline) and paralleled data sets obtained for T2 magnetic resonance imaging. We now provide a developmental opportunity to employ these novel particles for theranostic drug distribution and efficacy evaluations. Statement of Significance A novel europium (Eu3+) doped cobalt ferrite (Si-CFEu) nanoparticle was produced for use as a bioimaging probe. Its notable multifunctional, fluorescence and imaging properties, allows rapid screening of future drug biodistribution. Decoration of the Si-CFEu particles with folic acid increased its sensitivity and specificity for magnetic resonance imaging over a more conventional ultrasmall superparamagnetic iron oxide particles. The future use of these particles in theranostic tests will serve as a platform for designing improved drug delivery strategies to combat inflammatory and infectious diseases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)507-520
Number of pages14
JournalActa Biomaterialia
StatePublished - Feb 1 2017


  • Biodistribution
  • Cobalt ferrite
  • Magnetic resonance imaging
  • Monocyte-macrophages
  • Multimodal imaging
  • Nanoprobes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Biomaterials
  • Biochemistry
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Molecular Biology


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