An investigation of the toxicity of gadolinium based MRI contrast agents using neutron activation analysis

M. E. Bartolini, J. Pekar, D. R. Chettle, F. McNeill, A. Scott, J. Sykes, F. S. Prato, G. R. Moran

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

67 Scopus citations


The toxicity of gadolinium (Gd) based MRI contrast agents, is based upon the amount of Gd that dissociates from its chelate and deposits in tissues. In this study, the toxicities of two contrast agents were tested using different injection strategies in two animal models. Following a bolus injection of 0.2 mmol/kg of Gd-DTPA in a pilot study with a single canine, Gd levels were as high as 2.05 ± 0.17 ppm and 0.47 ± 0.11 ppm 2 weeks post injection in the kidney and liver tissues, respectively. To evaluate the role that the injection strategy plays in toxicity, 0.8 mmol/kg of Gd-(HP-DO3A) was injected into rats, in a second study, via bolus and constant infusion techniques. Gd was only detected in the kidney in the bolus injected rats but in the lung as well in the constant infusion injected rats. Concentrations detected in the kidney for both strategies, were comparable within error: 1.37 ± 0.46 ppm for the bolus and 1.24 ± 0.39 ppm for the bolus/constant infusion strategy and 0.16 ± 0.14 ppm in the lung for the constant infusion technique. The contrast infusion technique does not appear to present an increased risk of toxicity over the bolus technique except perhaps to a small degree in the lung.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)541-544
Number of pages4
JournalMagnetic Resonance Imaging
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jun 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Contrast agents
  • Gadolinium
  • Magnetic resonance imaging
  • Neutron activation analysis
  • Toxicity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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