Engineered Polyethylene Glycol-Coated Zinc Ferrite Nanoparticles as a Novel Magnetic Resonance Imaging Contrast Agent

Dabagh S., Haris S. A., ERTAŞ Y. N.

ACS Biomaterials Science and Engineering, vol.9, no.7, pp.4138-4148, 2023 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 9 Issue: 7
  • Publication Date: 2023
  • Doi Number: 10.1021/acsbiomaterials.3c00255
  • Journal Name: ACS Biomaterials Science and Engineering
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus, BIOSIS, Chemical Abstracts Core, Compendex, EMBASE, MEDLINE
  • Page Numbers: pp.4138-4148
  • Keywords: contrast agent, ferrites, magnetic nanoparticles, magnetic resonance imaging, relaxivity
  • Erciyes University Affiliated: Yes


Polyethylene glycol (PEG) was utilized to functionalize the surface of zinc ferrite nanoparticles (NPs) synthesized by the hydrothermal process in order to prevent aggregation and improve the biocompatibility of the NPs for the proposed magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) agent. Various spectroscopy techniques were used to examine the NPs' structure, size, morphology, and magnetic properties. The NPs had a cubic spinel structure with an average size of 8 nm. The formations of the spinel ferrite and the PEG coating band at the ranges of 300-600 and 800-2000 cm-1, respectively, were validated by Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy. The NPs were spherical in shape, and energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy with mapping confirmed the presence of zinc, iron, and oxygen in the samples. The results of high-resolution transmission electron microscopy revealed an average size of 14 nm and increased stability after PEG coating. The decrease in zeta potential from -24.5 to -36.5 mV confirmed the PEG coating on the surface of the NPs. A high saturation magnetization of ~50 emu/g, measured by vibration sample magnetometer, indicated the magnetic potential of NPs for biomedical applications. An MTT assay was used to examine the cytotoxicity and viability of human normal skin cells (HSF 1184) exposed to zinc ferrite and PEG@Zn ferrite NPs at various concentrations. After 24 h of treatment, negligible cytotoxicity of PEG-coated NPs was observed at high concentrations. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) suggested that PEG@Zn ferrite NPs are a unique and perfectly suited contrast agent for T2-weighted MRI and can successfully enhance the image contrast.