Multimodal imaging probes can provide diagnostic information combining different imaging modalities. Nanoparticles (NPs) can contain two or more imaging tracers that allow several diagnostic techniques to be used simultaneously. In this work, a complex coacervation process to produce core-shell completely biocompatible polymeric nanoparticles (HyCoS) for multimodal imaging applications is described. Innovations on the traditional coacervation process are found in the control of the reaction temperature, allowing a speeding up of the reaction itself, and the production of a double-crosslinked system to improve the stability of the nanostructures in the presence of a clinically relevant contrast agent for MRI (Gd-DTPA). Through the control of the crosslinking behavior, an increase up to 6 times of the relaxometric properties of the Gd-DTPA is achieved. Furthermore, HyCoS can be loaded with a high amount of dye such as ATTO 633 or conjugated with a model dye such as FITC for in vivo optical imaging. The results show stable core-shell polymeric nanoparticles that can be used both for MRI and for optical applications allowing detection free from harmful radiation. Additionally, preliminary results about the possibility to trigger the release of a drug through a pH effect are reported.
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