Jul 28, 2020
Contributor: Michael Hunt, MD
- Contrast agents are commonly
used for X-rays and CT’s to better characterize disease, but
contrast doesn’t work with MRI. That’s where the element Gadolinium
comes into play.
- Gadolinium, element 64, is
ferromagnetic (attracted to iron) below 68 degrees and above that
temperature it’s paramagnetic which makes it useful in MRI
- Gadolinium is toxic alone, but
when paired with chelators it can be used in humans and allows for
better characterization of tumors or abnormal tissue on
- It helps identify this abnormal
tissue because when MRI causes polarization of our body’s cells,
the gadolinium, which has the maximum number of unpaired electrons
in its orbital shells, alters the rate of decay in abnormal tissue
highlighting abnormalities on imaging.
- Gadolinium can also be used in
the treatment of cancers because it collects in the cells of
abnormal tissue, allowing for more targeted therapies.
- In people exposed to
gadolinium, the anaphylaxis rate is low, below 1/1000, and in rare
cases there are reports of kidney injury and nephrogenic systemic
fibrosis which is why it’s not recommended in renal failure
1)Ibrahim MA, Hazhirkarzar B, Dublin AB. Magnetic
Resonance Imaging (MRI) Gadolinium. [Updated 2020 Mar 9]. In:
StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing;
2020 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK482487/
2)Pasquini L, Napolitano A, Visconti E, et al.
Gadolinium-Based Contrast Agent-Related Toxicities [published
correction appears in CNS Drugs. 2018 May 15;:].
Summarized by Jackson Roos,
MS4 | Edited by Erik Verzemnieks, MD