Worm-like superparamagnetic nanoparticle clusters for enhanced adhesion and magnetic resonance relaxivity

Cartney E. Smith, Ju Yeon Lee, Yongbeom Seo, Nicholas Clay, Jooyeon Park, Artem Shkumatov, Dawn Ernenwein, Mei Hsiu Lai, Sanjay Misra, Charles E. Sing, Brenda Andrade, Steven C. Zimmerman, Hyunjoon Kong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Nanosized bioprobes that can highlight diseased tissue can be powerful diagnostic tools. However, a major unmet need is a tool with adequate adhesive properties and contrast-to-dose ratio. To this end, this study demonstrates that targeted superparamagnetic nanoprobes engineered to present a worm-like shape and hydrophilic packaging enhance both adhesion efficiency to target substrates and magnetic resonance (MR) sensitivity. These nanoprobes were prepared by the controlled self-assembly of superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles (SPIONs) into worm-like superstructures using glycogen-like amphiphilic hyperbranched polyglycerols functionalized with peptides capable of binding to defective vasculature. The resulting worm-like SPION clusters presented binding affinity to the target substrate 10-fold higher than that of spherical ones and T2 molar MR relaxivity 3.5-fold higher than that of conventional, single SPIONs. The design principles discovered for these nanoprobes should be applicable to a range of other diseases where improved diagnostics are needed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1219-1225
Number of pages7
JournalACS Applied Materials and Interfaces
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 18 2017


  • Hyperbranched polyglycerol
  • Magnetic resonance imaging
  • Nonspherical nanoparticle cluster
  • Superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticle
  • Targeted imaging

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Materials Science


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