Magnetic nanoparticles (mNPs) are known to heat and produce contrast for magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in response to varying magnetic fields. These phenomena are being clinically applied in the detection and treatment of diseases such as cancer. However, one important factor that has been largely overlooked in the field is the effect of aggregation on the mNPs’ performance once they are delivered into target cells and tissues. Specifically, nanoparticle aggregation caused by protein interactions and cellular uptake can lead to shifts in their behavior due to increases in the interparticle magnetic interactions and changes to Brownian motion. This will affect both the mNPs’ ability to heat and to be imaged by MRI.

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