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The authors investigated the effect of multimerization on the relaxivity of macrocyclic gadolinium (Gd) chelates. The objective was to develop more sensitive magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) contrast agents to study biochemical processes.Covalently linked nonionic, macrocyclic, multimeric lanthanide chelates that belong to the classes of dimers, trimers, tetramers, hexamer, and octamer, in the molecular weight range ∼1 to 5 KDa, were synthesized. The chemical linkage was based on either the amide bond or the 2-hydroxypropylidene bond. Relaxivity values, 20r1, on Gd3+ chelates and hydration numbers, Q, on Tb3+ chelates were determined.Relaxivity values increased with molecular weight and Q values were not affected. The increase in r1 is attributable to the expected increase in the overall rotational correlation time, τr with an increase in molecular weight. The rigidity of the linkers, which is expected to affect the intrachelate rotational correlation time τr* that makes a contribution to the overall correlation time, τr, exerted a noticeable effect. The hydroxyl-based chelates generally had lower r1 values than the amide-based chelates. This is rationalized as arising from the longer and thereby rate-limiting effect of the τm value for the hydroxyl chelates compared with that reported of the amidebased chelates. This rate limiting effect of τm becomes a dominant factor controlling attainable enhanced relaxivity when multimers based on traditional chelate designs are used for MRI applications.Approaches aimed at enhancing relaxivity by modulating the water relaxation time, τm, will be important for the future development of functional MRI contrast agents for the imaging of biochemical processes.