Cathodic protected Mn2+ by NaxWO3 nanorods for stable magnetic resonance imaging-guided tumor photothermal therapy

Yang Liu, Shiman Wu, Yanyan Liu, Hua Zhang, Meng Zhang, Zhongmin Tang, Yan Wang, Teng Gong, Zhenwei Yao, Xiangming Fang, Wenbo Bu
The stability and safety of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) contrast agents (CAs) are crucial for accurate diagnosis and real-time monitor of tumor development. Paramagnetic Mn2+ as nonlanthanide metal ion has been widely studied for use in T1-MRI CAs, but unfortunately, Mn2+ can be oxidized by H2O2 in tumor to nonparamagnetic Mn4+ via a Fenton-like reaction. The concurrent loss of paramagnetism and production of toxic hydroxyl radical ([rad]OH) go against the basic requirment of CAs, thus restricting the further development of Mn2+-based CAs. Based on the different standard potential of W6+/W5+ (~0.26 V) and Mn4+/Mn2+ (~1.2 V), a “cathodic protection” strategy was exploited in Mn2+-doped NaxWO3 nanorods (NaxMnWO3), with W5+ as the sacrificial anode and Mn2+ as the protected cathode, to protect Mn2+ from oxidation in tumor for stable MR contrast performance, as well as repress its Fenton-like reaction activity for good biosafety. Moreover, the tungsten bronze crystal structure endows NaxMnWO3 with excellent near-infrared (NIR)-photothermal properties for effective tumor hyperthermia, without effect from the changed oxidation state of W. This “cathodic protection” strategy offers a new method for the development of reliable and hypotoxic biomaterials for stable imaging and therapeutic applications in clinic.

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