In Vivo Imaging with a Cell-Permeable Porphyrin-Based MRI Contrast Agent

Taekwan Lee, Xiao an Zhang, Shanta Dhar, Henryk Faas, Stephen J. Lippard, Alan Jasanoff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

66 Scopus citations


Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) with molecular probes offers the potential to monitor physiological parameters with comparatively high spatial and temporal resolution in living subjects. For detection of intracellular analytes, construction of cell-permeable imaging agents remains a challenge. Here we show that a porphyrin-based MRI molecular imaging agent, Mn-(DPA-C2)2-TPPS3, effectively penetrates cells and persistently stains living brain tissue in intracranially injected rats. Chromogenicity of the probe permitted direct visualization of its distribution by histology, in addition to MRI. Distribution was concentrated in cell bodies after hippocampal infusion. Mn-(DPA-C2)2-TPPS3 was designed to sense zinc ions, and contrast enhancement was more pronounced in the hippocampus, a zinc-rich brain region, than in the caudate nucleus, which contains relatively little labile Zn2+. Membrane permeability, optical activity, and high relaxivity of porphyrin-based contrast agents offer exceptional functionality for in vivo imaging.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)665-673
Number of pages9
JournalChemistry and Biology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 25 2010
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Molecular Biology
  • Pharmacology
  • Drug Discovery
  • Clinical Biochemistry


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