Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a useful tool for disease diagnosis and treatment monitoring. Superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles (SPION) show good performance as transverse relaxation (T2) contrast agents, thus facilitating the interpretation of the acquired images. Attachment of SPION onto nanocarriers prevents their agglomeration, improving the circulation time and efficiency. Graphene derivatives, such as graphene oxide (GO) and reduced graphene oxide (RGO), are appealing nanocarriers since they have both high surface area and functional moieties that make them ideal substrates for the attachment of nanoparticles. A fast, simple, and environmentally friendly microwave-assisted approach for the synthesis of SPION-RGO hybrids has been demonstrated in this study. Different iron precursor/GO ratios were used leading to SPION, with a median diameter of 7.1 nm, homogeneously distributed along the RGO surface. Good relaxivity (r2*) values were obtained in MRI studies and no significant toxicity was detected within in vitro tests following GL261 glioma and J774 macrophage-like cells for 24 h with SPION-RGO, demonstrating the applicability of the hybrids as T2-weighted MRI contrast agents.
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