Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) has become a promising technique in the early diagnosis of cancers, especially the application of contrast agents can further enhance the detection limit. Compared with the dark signal in “negative” contrast agents (T2), “positive” contrast agents (T1) with bright signal are more desirable for high-resolution imaging. However, the clinically used gadolinium complexes have short circulation time and the risk of nephrogenic system fibrosis. Therefore, to overcome the disadvantage of T2 agents and traditional T1 agents, it is very interesting to develop nano-scaled T1-weighted MRI contrast agents with safer and more precise imaging performance. The present review systematically summarized the recent progress of paramagnetic and superparamagnetic inorganic nanoparticles as T1-weighted MRI contrast agents, including gadolinium oxide nanoparticles, gadoliniumbased upconversion nanoparticles, manganese oxide nanoparticles, and ultra-small iron oxide nanoparticles. Moreover, we also described their applications in multi-modal imaging and visualized theranostics.
Keywords: Paramagnetic and superparamagnetic inorganic nanoparticles, gadolinium-based nanoparticles, manganese oxides, ultra-small iron oxides, T1-weighted magnetic resonance imaging, visualized theranostics.