Inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) comprise mainly ulcerative colitis (UC) and Crohn´s disease (CD). Both forms present with a chronic inflammation of the (gastro) intestinal tract, which induces excessive changes in the composition of the associated extracellular matrix (ECM). In UC, the inflammation is limited to the colon, whereas it can occur throughout the entire gastrointestinal tract in CD. Tools for early diagnosis of IBD are still very limited and highly invasive and measures for standardized evaluation of structural changes are scarce. To investigate an efficient non-invasive way of diagnosing intestinal inflammation and early changes of the ECM, very small superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles (VSOPs) in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) were applied in two mouse models of experimental colitis: the dextran sulfate sodium (DSS)-induced colitis and the transfer model of colitis. For further validation of ECM changes and inflammation, tissue sections were analyzed by immunohistochemistry. For in depth ex-vivo investigation of VSOPs localization within the tissue, Europium-doped VSOPs served to visualize the contrast agent by imaging mass cytometry (IMC). VSOPs accumulation in the inflamed colon wall of DSS-induced colitis mice was visualized in T2* weighted MRI scans. Components of the ECM, especially the hyaluronic acid content, were found to influence VSOPs binding. Using IMC, co-localization of VSOPs with macrophages and endothelial cells in colon tissue was shown. In contrast to the DSS model, colonic inflammation could not be visualized with VSOP-enhanced MRI in transfer colitis. VSOPs present a potential contrast agent for contrast-enhanced MRI to detect intestinal inflammation in mice at an early stage and in a less invasive manner depending on hyaluronic acid content.