Rationale and objectives: Inversion recovery, three-dimensional, gradient-recalled echo magnetic resonance coronary angiography (IR-3D-GRE-MRCA), performed after administration of an intravascular T1-relaxing agent with prolonged permanence in the blood, is one of the most promising approaches to noninvasive magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the coronaries. The aim of the present study was the evaluation of the physicochemical properties in solution, pharmacokinetics, elimination from the body, protein binding, and signal enhancement characteristics of gadocoletic acid trisodium salt (B22956/1), a candidate gadolinium-based MRI contrast agent for coronary angiography.
Methods: The pharmacokinetics and elimination from the body of gadocoletate ion, the contrastographically active component of gadocoletic acid trisodium salt, was evaluated after intravenous administration in rats and monkeys, using for assays high-performance liquid chromatography, x-ray fluorescence, and inductively coupled plasma atomic emission spectrometry. The binding of the gadocoletate ion to animal and human serum albumin was studied by means of ultrafiltration. The imaging properties of blood outside coronary arteries after contrast agent administration were evaluated in cynomolgus monkeys (Macaca fascicularis) by measuring aortic signal-to-noise and contrast-to-noise ratios in lower body angiograms. The suitability of gadocoletic acid trisodium salt for achieving contrast-enhanced magnetic resonance coronary angiography (ceMRCA) was tested in Yucatan micropigs with an IR-3D-GRE sequence. All in vivo relaxation rate measurement and images were obtained using a 1.5 T Siemens Symphony scanner.
Results: The fractional binding of gadocoletate ion at a concentration of 0.5 mM to serum albumin at the physiological concentration was 95%, 92%, 88%, and 86% for human, monkey, pig, and rat, respectively. In rats and monkeys, gadocoletate ion was excreted unmetabolized through the biliary and urinary routes. It was recovered with feces depending on the injected dose in percentages from 18% to 97%, providing evidence for a saturable biliary pathway. Plasma pharmacokinetics showed the complete elimination of gadocoletate ion within 24 hours after administration. In the monkey, the gadocoletate ion showed the pharmacokinetic behavior of a compound with partial vascular confinement and long plasma half-life, which may be ascribed to elevated binding to serum albumin. These properties manifested themselves in lower body angiograms with excellent image contrast between vessels and muscle. The slowly decaying aortic blood signal-to-noise and contrast-to-noise ratios over a 15-minute period is expected to allow 3-dimensional coronary angiography. The potential of gadocoletic acid trisodium salt for ceMRCA was also demonstrated in Yucatan micropigs. Elevated blood signal intensity and almost total myocardial signal suppression was maintained for almost 1 hour after administration, ie, for much longer than expected to be necessary for coronary angiography. During the whole period high resolution images of the right coronary artery could be obtained.
Conclusions: On the basis of the pharmacokinetic profile and imaging characteristics, gadocoletic acid trisodium salt shows promise as a MR contrast agent for coronary angiography.