The novel attachment of the optoacoustic (OA) molecules indocyanine green (ICG) and Flamma®774 to the core of an iron oxide (Fe3O4) nanoparticle has resulted in the facile synthesis of a multimodal imaging probe for both multispectral optoacoustic tomography (MSOT) imaging and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). The nanoparticles have been analysed structurally, optically and magnetically to demonstrate the multimodal characteristics. The OA analysis of the dyes ICG and Flamma®774 showed that they have absorbance at the near IR wavelengths of 790 and 780 nm, respectively, when conjugated to an iron oxide core. These wavelengths are ideal for spectral unmixing of the probe intensity from any endogenous contrast, such as oxy-(HbO2) and deoxy-hemoglobin (Hb). MRI showed that citrate capped Fe3O4 exhibited a good r2 contrast of 230 mM-1 s-1, which is in line with literature values. Upon optoacoustic dye modification, the r2 relaxivity coefficient is comparable with that of Flamma®774 iron oxide nanoparticles (FeO-774) with r2 = 212 mM-1 s-1, showing that an OA dye attachment can have little to no effect on the MRI contrast. Indocyanine green functionalised iron oxide (FeO-ICG) nanoparticles showed an r2 contrast that was dramatically reduced with r2 = 5 mM-1 s-1. These results indicate that the facile synthesis of an effective dual modality MRI-MSOT probe can be developed using an iron oxide core and simple ligand coordination chemistry using an optoacoustic dye.

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