Liposomal Gd-DTPA: Effect of encapsulation on enhancement of hepatoma model by MRI

Evan C. Unger, Peter MacDougall, Pieter Cullis, Colin Tilcock

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Scopus citations


Liposomes entrapping gadolinium-DTPA (Gd-DTPA) were synthesized from 60 mole percent egg phosphatidylcholine (EPC) and 40 mole percent cholesterol or EPC alone entrapping Gd-DTPA in diameters of 100 and 200 nm. Rats bearing Morris hepatoma in their flanks were imaged by MR pre- and post-contrast with free Gd-DTPA and liposomal Gd-DTPA for up to four hours after IV contrast. Comparison of images after free and liposomal Gd-DTPA showed dramatic differences in tumor and organ enhancement. Liposomal Gd-DTPA enhancement of tumor corresponded more closely to histologically proven vascularized portions of tumor than free Gd-DTPA. Hepatic enhancement was greater with liposomal than free Gd-DTPA and time course of liver, kidney and tumor enhancement was prolonged. The 100-nm EPC Gd-DTPA liposomes caused the greatest enhancement. Gd-DTPA liposomes may be useful as liver and blood pool contrast agents. By varying lipid composition and vesicle size, patterns of enhancement may be selectively modified.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)417-423
Number of pages7
JournalMagnetic Resonance Imaging
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1989


  • Contrast agents
  • Liposomes
  • MRI

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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