Polydisulfide Gd(III) chelates as biodegradable macromolecular magnetic resonance imaging contrast agents

Zheng Rong Lu, Aaron M. Mohs, Yuda Zong, Yi Feng

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

50 Scopus citations


Macromolecular gadolinium (Gd)(III) complexes have a prolonged blood circulation time and can preferentially accumulate in solid tumors, depending on the tumor blood vessel hyperpermeability, resulting in superior contrast enhancement in magnetic resonance (MR) cardiovascular imaging and cancer imaging as shown in animal models. Unfortunately, safety concerns related to these agents' slow elimination from the body impede their clinical development. Polydisulfide Gd(III) complexes have been designed and developed as biodegradable macromolecular magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) contrast agents to facilitate the clearance of Gd(III) complexes from the body after MRI examinations. These novel agents can act as macromolecular contrast agents for in vivo imaging and excrete rapidly as low-molecular-weight agents. The rationale and recent development of the novel biodegradable contrast agents are reviewed here. Polydisulfide Gd(III) complexes have relatively long blood circulation time and gradually degrade into small Gd(III) complexes, which are rapidly excreted via renal filtration. These agents result in effective and prolonged in vivo contrast enhancement in the blood pool and tumor tissue in animal models, yet demonstrate minimal Gd(III) tissue retention as the clinically used low-molecular-weight agents. Structural modification of the agents can readily alter the contrast-enhancement kinetics. Polydisulfide Gd(III) complexes are promising for further clinical development as safe, effective, biodegradable macromolecular MRI contrast agents for cardiovascular and cancer imaging, and for evaluation of therapeutic response.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)31-40
Number of pages10
JournalInternational journal of nanomedicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Biodegradable
  • Contrast agents
  • Gadolinium
  • MRI
  • Polydisulfide

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Bioengineering
  • Biomaterials
  • Pharmaceutical Science
  • Drug Discovery
  • Organic Chemistry


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