How the chemical properties of gbcas influence their safety profiles in vivo

Quyen N. Do, Robert E Lenkinski, Gyula Tircso, Zoltan Kovacs

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


The extracellular class of gadolinium-based contrast agents (GBCAs) is an essential tool for clinical diagnosis and disease management. In order to better understand the issues associated with GBCA administration and gadolinium retention and deposition in the human brain, the chemical properties of GBCAs such as relative thermodynamic and kinetic stabilities and their likelihood of forming gadolinium deposits in vivo will be reviewed. The chemical form of gadolinium causing the hyperintensity is an open question. On the basis of estimates of total gadolinium concentration present, it is highly unlikely that the intact chelate is causing the T1 hyperintensities observed in the human brain. Although it is possible that there is a water-soluble form of gadolinium that has high relaxitvity present, our experience indicates that the insoluble gadolinium-based agents/salts could have high relaxivities on the surface of the solid due to higher water access. This review assesses the safety of GBCAs from a chemical point of view based on their thermodynamic and kinetic properties, discusses how these properties influence in vivo behavior, and highlights some clinical implications regarding the development of future imaging agents.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number58
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2022


  • Gadolinium deposition
  • Gadolinium-based contrast agents
  • Kinetic inertness
  • T hyperintensity
  • Thermodynamic stability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Chemistry (miscellaneous)
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Pharmaceutical Science
  • Drug Discovery
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry


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