Hepatobiliary MR imaging with gadolinium-based contrast agents

J Magn Reson Imaging. 2012 Mar;35(3):492-511. doi: 10.1002/jmri.22833.


The advent of gadolinium-based "hepatobiliary" contrast agents offers new opportunities for diagnostic magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and has triggered great interest for innovative imaging approaches to the liver and bile ducts. In this review article we discuss the imaging properties of the two gadolinium-based hepatobiliary contrast agents currently available in the U.S., gadobenate dimeglumine and gadoxetic acid, as well as important pharmacokinetic differences that affect their diagnostic performance. We review potential applications, protocol optimization strategies, as well as diagnostic pitfalls. A variety of illustrative case examples will be used to demonstrate the role of these agents in detection and characterization of liver lesions as well as for imaging the biliary system. Changes in MR protocols geared toward optimizing workflow and imaging quality are also discussed. It is our aim that the information provided in this article will facilitate the optimal utilization of these agents and will stimulate the reader's pursuit of new applications for future benefit.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bile Duct Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Contrast Media / pharmacokinetics*
  • Gadolinium DTPA / pharmacokinetics*
  • Humans
  • Liver Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Meglumine / analogs & derivatives*
  • Meglumine / pharmacokinetics
  • Organometallic Compounds / pharmacokinetics*


  • Contrast Media
  • Organometallic Compounds
  • gadolinium ethoxybenzyl DTPA
  • gadobenic acid
  • Meglumine
  • Gadolinium DTPA