Clearance of liposomal gadolinium: In vivo decomplexation

Evan C. Unger, Thomas A. Fritz, Colin Tilcock, Terri E. New

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


The contrast agents gadolinium‐DTPA (diethylenetriaminepentaacetic acid), Gd‐DOTA (tetraazacyclododecanetetraacetic acid), and Gd‐HP‐DO3A (1,4,7‐tris[carboxymethyl]‐10‐[2′hydroxypropyl]‐1,4,7,10‐tetraazacyclododecane) are used in humans as extracellular contrast agents. Although free Gd+ ion is toxic, the intact Gd3+ complexes are rapidly excreted and are relatively nontoxic. Decomplexation with release of free gadolinium is a relevant clinical concern in patients with altered renal clearance. Blood pool contrast agents currently under development may have longer clearance half‐lives and be more prone to decomplexation. The present study was designed to evaluate the clearance of liposomally encapsulated Gd3+ complexes (DTPA, DOTA, and HP‐DO3A). The macrocyclic compounds had more rapid and complete clearance than DTPA (P <.05). Parallel studies with carbon‐14 and Gd‐153‐labeled complexes showed significant differences (P <.05) in the amount of these isotopes retained in the heart, kidney, lungs, and spleen, providing strong supportive evidence for in vivo decomplexation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)689-693
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Magnetic Resonance Imaging
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1991


  • Contrast enhancement
  • Contrast media, comparative studies
  • Contrast media, experimental studies
  • Gadolinium
  • Liposomes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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