Gadolinium-containing magnetic resonance image contrast agent promotes fibrocyte differentiation

Varsha Vakil, Joanna J. Sung, Marta Piecychna, Jeffrey R. Crawford, Phillip Kuo, Ali K. Abu-Alfa, Shawn E. Cowper, Richard Bucala, Richard H. Gomer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


Gadolinium-containing magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) contrast agents such as Omniscan are associated with nephrogenic systemic fibrosis (NSF). To determine if Omniscan can affect the differentiation of monocytes into fibroblast-like cells called fibrocytes that are found in the fibrotic lesions of NSF, peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) from NSF patients, hemodialysis patients without NSF, and healthy, renally sufficient controls were exposed to Omniscan in a standardized in vitro fibrocyte differentiation protocol. When added to PBMCs, the gadolinium-containing MRI contrast agent Omniscan generally had little effect on fibrocyte differentiation. However, 10-8 to 10-3 mg/mL Omniscan reduced the ability of the fibrocyte differentiation inhibitor serum amyloid P (SAP) to decrease fibrocyte differentiation in PBMCs from 15 of 17 healthy controls and one of three NSF patients. Omniscan reduced the ability of SAP to decrease fibrocyte differentiation from purified monocytes, indicating that the Omniscan effect does not require the presence of other cells (such as T cells) in the PBMCs. Omniscan also reduced the ability of a different fibrocyte differentiation inhibitor, interleukin-12, to decrease fibrocyte differentiation. These data suggest that Omniscan interferes with the regulatory action of signals that inhibit the differentiation of monocytes to fibrocytes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1284-1288
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Magnetic Resonance Imaging
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2009


  • IL-12
  • Monocytes
  • Nephrogenic systemic fibrosis
  • Omniscan
  • Peripheral blood mononuclear cells
  • Serum amyloid P

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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