This study proposes a new method to generate positive contrast in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) using superparamagnetic contrast agents. Superparamagnetic nanostructures consisting of octahedron manganese ferrite nanoparticles embedded in spherical nanogels are fabricated using a bottom-up approach. The composite nanoparticles are strongly magnetized in an external magnetic field and produce a unique NMR frequency shift in water protons, which can be demonstrated in MR spectroscopy and imaging to be different from the bulk pool. Moreover, the particles exhibit excellent colloidal stability in aqueous media and good cell biocompatibility. Hence, these particles are potentially useful as biomarkers by taking advantage of the positive contrast effects produced in MRI.
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