Covalent attachment of methoxypoly(ethylene glycol) (MPEG) 5000 to the surface of unilamellar liposomes composed of egg phosphatidylcholine and dioleoylphosphatidylethanolamine (DOPE) (8:2) containing paramagnetic chelates; either entrapped within the interior volume of the liposomes, or associated with the membrane surface, had no effect upon the measured spin-lattice relaxation rates (1/T1) for water in these systems. 31P-NMR studies indicate no destabilization of dioleoylphosphatidylcholine (DOPC)/(DOPE) (1:1) vesicles following attachment of MPEG. However, in DOPC/DOPE (1:3) mixtures, covalent modification with MPEG results in a destabilization of multiiamellar vesicle, into smaller vesicular structures. These results indicate that covalent attachment of poly(ethylene glycol) to liposomal magnetic resonance agents may prove a useful method for increasing their utility as vascular MR agents by extending their lifetime in the circulation, without decreasing the relaxivity of paramagnetic species associated with the liposome, but that the presence of PEG covalently attached to the membrane surface may modify the polymorphic phase behavior of the lipid system to which it is covalently linked. © 1992.