A lanthanide complex with dual biosensing properties: CEST (chemical exchange saturation transfer) and BIRDS (biosensor imaging of redundant deviation in shifts) with europium DOTA-tetraglycinate

NMR Biomed. 2011 Dec;24(10):1216-25. doi: 10.1002/nbm.1677.


Responsive contrast agents (RCAs) composed of lanthanide(III) ion (Ln3R) complexes with a variety of1,4,7,10-tetraazacyclododecane-1,4,7,10-tetraacetate (DOTA4S) derivatives have shown great potential as molecular imaging agents for MR. A variety of LnDOTA–tetraamide complexes have been demonstrated as RCAs for molecular imaging using chemical exchange saturation transfer (CEST). The CEST method detects proton exchange between bulk water and any exchangeable sites on the ligand itself or an inner sphere of bound water that is shifted by a paramagnetic Ln3R ion bound in the core of the macrocycle. It has also been shown that molecular imaging is possible when the RCA itself is observed (i.e. not its effect on bulk water) using a method called biosensor imaging of redundant deviation in shifts (BIRDS). The BIRDS method utilizes redundant information stored in the nonexchangeable proton resonances emanating from the paramagnetic RCA for ambient factors such as temperature and/or pH.Thus, CEST and BIRDS rely on exchangeable and nonexchangeable protons, respectively, for biosensing. We posited that it would be feasible to combine these two biosensing features into the same RCA (i.e. dual CEST and BIRDS properties). A complex between europium(III) ion (Eu3R) and DOTA–tetraglycinate [DOTA–(gly)S4] was used to demonstrate that its CEST characteristics are preserved, while its BIRDS properties are also detectable. The in vitro temperature sensitivity of EuDOTA–(gly)S4 was used to show that qualitative MR contrast with CEST can be calibrated using quantitative MR mapping with BIRDS, thereby enabling quantitative molecular imaging at high spatial resolution.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Biosensing Techniques / methods*
  • Coordination Complexes / chemistry*
  • Europium / chemistry*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Phantoms, Imaging
  • Temperature
  • Time Factors


  • Coordination Complexes
  • europium DOTA-tetraglycinate
  • Europium