Mn2+ Complexes with Pyclen-Based Derivatives as Contrast Agents for Magnetic Resonance Imaging: Synthesis and Relaxometry Characterization

American Chemical Society, Fev 2021

Marie Devreux, Céline Henoumont, Fabienne Dioury, Sébastien Boutry, Olivier Vacher, Luce Vander Elst, Marc Port, Robert N. Muller, Olivier Sandre and Sophie Laurent


Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) has a leading place in medicine as an imaging tool of high resolution for anatomical studies and diagnosis of diseases, in particular for soft tissues that cannot be accessible by other modalities. Many research works are thus focused on improving the images obtained with MRI. This technique has indeed poor sensitivity, which can be compensated by using a contrast agent (CA). Today, the clinically approved CAs on market are solely based on gadolinium complexes that may induce nephrogenic systemic fibrosis for patients with kidney failure, whereas more recent studies on healthy rats also showed Gd retention in the brain. Consequently, researchers try to elaborate other types of safer MRI CAs like manganese-based complexes. In this context, the synthesis of Mn2+ complexes of four 12-membered pyridine-containing macrocyclic ligands based on the pyclen core was accomplished and described herein. Then, the properties of these Mn(II) complexes were studied by two relaxometric methods, 17O NMR spectroscopy and 1H NMR dispersion profiles. The time of residence (τM) and the number of water molecules (q) present in the inner sphere of coordination were determined by these two experiments. The efficacy of the pyclen-based Mn(II) complexes as MRI CAs was evaluated by proton relaxometry at a magnetic field intensity of 1.41 T near those of most medical MRI scanners (1.5 T). Both the 17O NMR and the nuclear magnetic relaxation dispersion profiles indicated that the four hexadentate ligands prepared herein left one vacant coordination site to accommodate one water molecule, rapidly exchanging, in around 6 ns. Furthermore, it has been shown that the presence of an additional amide bond formed when the paramagnetic complex is conjugated to a molecule of interest does not alter the inner sphere of coordination of Mn, which remains monohydrated. These complexes exhibit r1 relaxivities, large enough to be used as clinical MRI CAs (1.7–3.4 mM–1·s–1, at 1.41 T and 37 °C).