The use of paramagnetic ions, bound to macromolecules and trapped in liposomes, as MRI contrast agents is suggested. As an example, the system of Mn2+ bound to serum proteins was tested. The binding of the metal ions to the macromolecules enhances their relaxation and at the same time decreases their rate of diffusion out of the liposomes. The use of liposomes is expected to reduce the potential toxicity of the paramagnetic ions and allows their targeting toward specific tissues. © 1986 Academic Press, Inc.