Superparamagnetic iron oxides as MPI tracers: A primer and review of early applications

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40 Scopus citations


Magnetic particle imaging (MPI) has recently emerged as a non-invasive, whole body imaging technique that detects superparamagnetic iron oxide (SPIO) nanoparticles similar as those used in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Based on tracer “hot spot” detection instead of providing contrast on MRI scans, MPI has already proven to be truly quantitative. Without the presence of endogenous background signal, MPI can also be used in certain tissues where the endogenous MRI signal is too low to provide contrast. After an introduction to the history and simplified principles of MPI, this review focuses on early MPI applications including MPI cell tracking, multiplexed MPI, perfusion and tumor MPI, lung MPI, functional MPI, and MPI-guided hyperthermia. While it is too early to tell if MPI will become a mainstay imaging technique with the (theoretical) sensitivity that it promises, and if it can successfully compete with SPIO-based 1H MRI and perfluorocarbon-based 19F MRI, it provides unprecedented opportunities for exploring new nanoparticle-based imaging applications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)293-301
Number of pages9
JournalAdvanced Drug Delivery Reviews
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019


  • Cell tracking
  • Magnetic particle imaging
  • Magnetic resonance imaging
  • Molecular imaging
  • Nanoparticles
  • Superparamagnetic iron oxide
  • Tracer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmaceutical Science


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