open access publication

Preprint, 2024

Using Chiral Auxiliaries to Mimic the Effect of Chiral Media on the Structure of Lanthanide(III) Complexes Common in Bioimaging and Diagnostic MRI

ChemRxiv, ISSN 2573-2293, 10.26434/chemrxiv-2022-5dvwr-v2


Nielsen, Lea Gundorff 0000-0001-7879-6115 [1] Andersen, Helene Obel Bøch [1] Kenwright, Alan M 0000-0002-7169-7103 [2] Platas-Iglesias, Carlos 0000-0002-6989-9654 [3] Sørensen, Thomas Just 0000-0003-1491-5116 [1]


  1. [1] University of Copenhagen
  2. [NORA names: KU University of Copenhagen; University; Denmark; Europe, EU; Nordic; OECD];
  3. [2] Durham University
  4. [NORA names: United Kingdom; Europe, Non-EU; OECD];
  5. [3] University of A Coruña
  6. [NORA names: Spain; Europe, EU; OECD]


[Ln·DOTA]- complexes, and systems derived therefrom, are commonly used in MRI and optical bioimaging. These lanthanide(III) complexes are chiral and, in solution, they are present in eight forms, two sets of four uncapped and four capped forms. Each set of four consist of two sets of enatiomers, with the ligand backbone in either a square antiprismatic, SAP, or twisted square antiprismatic geometry, TSAP. This complex speciation is found in laboratory samples. To investigate speciation in biological media, when Ln·DOTA-like complexes interact with chiral biomolecules, six Eu·DOTA-monoamide complexes were prepared and investigated using 1D and 2D 1H NMR. To emulate the chirality of biological media, the amide pendant arm was modified with one or two chiral centers. It was known that a chiral center on the DOTA scaffold significantly influences the properties of the system. Here, it was found that chirality much further away from the metal changes the available conformational space, and that both chiral centers and cis/trans isomerism are important, a fact that, for the optically pure materials, led to the conclusion that sixteen forms had to be considered, instead of the eight forms necessary for DOTA. The results reported here clearly demonstrate the diverse speciation that must be considered when correlating an observation to a structure of a lanthanide(III) complex.


DOTA, DOTA scaffold, MRI, NMR, TSAP, amide, amide pendant arms, arm, auxiliary, backbone, bioimaging, biological media, biomolecules, cap forms, center, chiral auxiliary, chiral biomolecules, chiral centers, chiral media, chirality, cis/trans, cis/trans isomerization, complex, complex speciation, conformational space, diagnostic MRI, diagnostics, diverse speciation, effect, enatiomers, form, geometry, investigate speciation, isomerization, laboratory, laboratory samples, lanthanide(III, lanthanide(III) complexes, ligand, ligand backbone, materials, media, medium, metal, observations, optical bioimaging, optically pure materials, optics, pendant arms, properties, pure materials, results, samples, sap, scaffolds, sets, solution, space, speciation, square antiprismatic geometry, structure, system


  • Danish Ministry of Higher Education and Science
  • Carlsberg Foundation
  • The Velux Foundations

Data Provider: Digital Science