Journal Highlight: Recent advances in ytterbium-based contrast agents for in vivo X-ray computed tomography imaging: Promises and prospects

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  • Published: Feb 10, 2014
  • Author: spectroscopyNOW
  • Channels: X-ray Spectrometry
thumbnail image: Journal Highlight: Recent advances in ytterbium-based contrast agents for in vivo X-ray computed tomography imaging: Promises and prospects
This review summarizes the development of ytterbium-based CT contrast agents and highlights the design and applications of yterrbium-based nanoparticulate CT contrast agents.

Recent advances in ytterbium-based contrast agents for in vivo X-ray computed tomography imaging: Promises and prospects

Contrast Media & Molecular Imaging, 2014, 9, 26-36
Yanlan Liu, Jianhua Liu, Kelong Ai, Qinghai Yuan, Lehui Lu

Abstract: X-ray computed tomography (CT) imaging is one of the most widely used diagnostic imaging techniques in the clinic, and has raised significant interest in recent years both in research and practice owing to its many advantages such as deep penetration depth, high resolution and facile image processing. Developing heavy metal-based CT contrast agents, especially heavy metal-containing nanoparticulate CT contrast agents, has become a key focus in research fields to address issues of clinical iodinated agents involving short circulation time, low contrast efficiency and potential renal toxicity. In this review, we summarize the development of ytterbium (Yb)-based CT contrast agents and highlight the design and applications of Yb-based nanoparticulate CT contrast agents. Yb has high atomic number and higher abundance in the earth's crust relative to Au, Ta and Bi, which have received much attention as a CT contrast agents. In particular, in contrast to these metal elements, as well as I, Yb has K-edge energy that is located just within the higher-intensity region of X-ray spectra, which can induce significant enhancement in the contrast efficiency. When encapsulated in nanoparticles, Yb can remain in the circulation for a long time. This long in vivo circulation time, combined with the proper K-edge energy and a large absorption cross-section of Yb in the near-infrared region, makes Yb-based nanoparticles particularly promising in angiography, ‘multicolor’ spectral CT imaging, and multimodal imaging. Finally, we also discuss the prospects and the challenges in the development of Yb-based CT contrast agents.

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