Isoquinoline-based lanthanide complexes: bright NIR optical probes and efficient MRI agents.

Abstract : In the objective of developing ligands that simultaneously satisfy the requirements for MRI contrast agents and near-infrared emitting optical probes that are suitable for imaging, three isoquinoline-based polyaminocarboxylate ligands, L1, L2 and L3, have been synthesized and the corresponding Gd(3+), Nd(3+) and Yb(3+) complexes investigated. The specific challenge of the present work was to create NIR emitting agents which (i) have excitation wavelengths compatible with biological applications and (ii) are able to emit a sufficient number of photons to ensure sensitive NIR detection for microscopic imaging. Here we report the first observation of a NIR signal arising from a Ln(3+) complex in aqueous solution in a microscopy setup. The lanthanide complexes have high thermodynamic stability (log K(LnL) =17.7-18.7) and good selectivity for lanthanide ions versus the endogenous cations Zn(2+), Cu(2+), and Ca(2+) thus preventing transmetalation. A variable temperature and pressure (17)O NMR study combined with nuclear magnetic relaxation dispersion measurements yielded the microscopic parameters characterizing water exchange and rotation. Bishydration of the lanthanide cation in the complexes, an important advantage to obtain high relaxivity for the Gd(3+) chelates, has been demonstrated by (17)O chemical shifts for the Gd(3+) complexes and by luminescence lifetime measurements for the Yb(3+) analogues. The water exchange on the three Gd(3+) complexes is considerably faster (k(ex)(298) = (13.9-15.4) × 10(6) s(-1)) than on commercial Gd(3+)-based contrast agents and proceeds via a dissociative mechanism, as evidenced by the large positive activation volumes for GdL1 and GdL2 (+10.3 ± 0.9 and +10.6 ± 0.9 cm(3) mol(-1), respectively). The relaxivity of GdL1 is doubled at 40 MHz and 298 K in fetal bovine serum (r(1) = 16.1 vs 8.5 mM(-1) s(-1) in HEPES buffer), due to hydrophobic interactions between the chelate and serum proteins. The isoquinoline core allows for the optimization of the optical properties of the luminescent lanthanide complexes in comparison to the pyridinic analogues and provides significant shifts of the excitation energies toward lower values which therefore become more adapted for biological applications. L2 and L3 bear two methoxy substituents on the aromatic core in ortho and para positions, respectively, that further modulate their electronic structure. The Nd(3+) and Yb(3+) complexes of the ligand L3, which incorporates the p-dimethoxyisoquinoline moiety, can be excited up to 420 nm. This wavelength is shifted over 100 nm toward lower energy in comparison to the pyridine-based analogue. The luminescence quantum yields of the Nd(3+) (0.013-0.016%) and Yb(3+) chelates (0.028-0.040%) are in the range of the best nonhydrated complexes, despite the presence of two inner sphere water molecules. More importantly, the 980 nm NIR emission band of YbL3 was detected with a good sensitivity in a proof of concept microscopy experiment at a concentration of 10 μM in fetal bovine serum. Our results demonstrate that even bishydrated NIR lanthanide complexes can emit a sufficient number of photons to ensure sensitive detection in practical applications. In particular, these ligands containing an aromatic core with coordinating pyridine nitrogen can be easily modified to tune the optical properties of the NIR luminescent lanthanide complexes while retaining good complex stability and MRI characteristics for the Gd(3+) analogues. They constitute a highly versatile platform for the development of bimodal MR and optical imaging probes based on a simple mixture of Gd(3+) and Yb(3+)/Nd(3+) complexes using an identical chelator. Given the presence of two inner sphere water molecules, important for MRI applications of the corresponding Gd(3+) analogues, this result is particularly exciting and opens wide perspectives not only for NIR imaging based on Ln(3+) ions but also for the design of combined NIR optical and MRI probes.
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Submitted on : Monday, July 30, 2012 - 2:26:29 PM
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Fabien Caillé, Célia S Bonnet, Frédéric Buron, Sandrine Villette, Lothar Helm, et al.. Isoquinoline-based lanthanide complexes: bright NIR optical probes and efficient MRI agents.. Inorganic Chemistry, American Chemical Society, 2012, 51 (4), pp.2522-32. ⟨10.1021/ic202446e⟩. ⟨hal-00721803⟩



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