Porous silicon has been used for the delivery of therapeutic and imaging agents in several biomedical applications. Here, mesoporous silicon nanoconstructs (SiMPs) with a discoidal shape and a sub-micrometer size (1000 x 400 nm) have been conjugated with gadolinium-tetraazacyclododecane tetraacetic acid Gd(DOTA) molecules and proposed as contrast agents for Magnetic Resonance Imaging. The surface of the SiMPs with different porosities - small pore (SP: similar to 5 nm) and huge pore (HP: similar to 40 nm) - and of bulk, non-porous silica beads (1000 nm in diameter) have been modified with covalently attached (3-aminopropyl)triethoxysilane (APTES) groups, conjugated with DOTA molecules, and reacted with an aqueous solution of GdCl3. The resulting Gd(DOTA) molecules confined within the small pores of the Gd-SiMPs achieve longitudinal relaxivities r(1) of similar to 17 (mM s)(-1), which is 4 times greater than for free Gd(DOTA). This enhancement is ascribed to the confinement and stable chelation of Gd(DOTA) molecules within the SiMP mesoporous matrix. The resulting nanoconstructs possess no cytotoxicity and accumulate in ovarian tumors up to 2% of the injected dose per gram tissue, upon tail vein injection. All together this data suggests that Gd-SiMPs could be efficiently used for MR vascular imaging in cancer and other diseases. (C) 2014 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.