Gadolinium Deposits Found in Brain Tissue After IV Contrast Agent Use

Evidence of gadolinium deposits in neuronal tissues following intravenous (IV) gadolinium-based contrast agents have been found, researchers from the Mayo Clinic reported. Findings have been published in Radiology.

The Mayo Clinic studied the bodies of patients donated to medical research who had undergone multiple gadolinium contrast-enhanced MRI exams during their life. Brain tissue samples were compared to donors’ bodies who had never received a gadolinium contrast agent. Patients exposed to the gadolinium contrast had measurable amounts of gadolinium deposits in their brain tissue vs. no amount found in those never exposed to gadolinium.

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The study authors measured gadolinium concentrations and visualized patterns in brain tissues. Currently, there is no data indicating gadolinium deposits in neural tissue are harmful. The use of gadolinium-based contrast agents is still recommended when clinically appropriate. Patients are to consider the following points:

  • Tens of millions of patients have received gadolinium contrast without incurring any related health problems.
  • Although research demonstrates deposition in brain tissues, no specific symptoms or diseases have been linked to this finding. If a patient has a medical condition requiring evaluation with MRI, the risk/benefit ratio still strongly favors administration of gadolinium in those cases when it is indicated.
  • There is no known disease associated with gadolinium deposition in the brain. To date, the only known disease related to gadolinium injections is nephrogenic systemic fibrosis, a condition only occurring in a tiny subgroup of patients with renal failure.
  • A patient or parent, as always, maintains autonomy to decline gadolinium administration; however, the quality and usefulness of the exam may be reduced.

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