Technical aspects of MRI signal change quantification after gadolinium-based contrast agents' administration

Magn Reson Imaging. 2016 Dec;34(10):1355-1358. doi: 10.1016/j.mri.2016.09.004. Epub 2016 Sep 28.


Over the last 2years several studies have been published regarding gadolinium deposition in brain structures in patients with normal renal function after repeated administrations of gadolinium-based contrast agents (GBCAs). Most of the publications are magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) based retrospective studies, where gadolinium deposition may be indirectly measured by evaluating changes in T1 signal intensity (SI) in brain tissue, particularly in the dentate nucleus (DN) and/or globus pallidi (GP). The direct correlation between T1 signal changes and gadolinium deposition was validated by human pathology studies. However, the variability of the MR equipment and parameters used across different publications, along with the inherent limitations of MRI to assess gadolinium in human tissues should be acknowledged when interpreting those studies. Nevertheless, MRI studies remain essential regarding gadolinium bio-distribution knowledge. The aim of this paper is to overview current knowledge of technical aspects of T1 signal intensity evaluation by MRI and describe confounding factors, with the intention to achieve higher accuracy and maximize reproducibility.

Keywords: Gadolinium accumulation; Sequences; Signal change; Signal intensity; T1.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Brain / diagnostic imaging*
  • Brain / pathology*
  • Brain Mapping / methods
  • Contrast Media / administration & dosage*
  • Contrast Media / adverse effects
  • Female
  • Gadolinium / administration & dosage*
  • Gadolinium / adverse effects
  • Gadolinium DTPA
  • Humans
  • Image Enhancement / methods*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Reproducibility of Results


  • Contrast Media
  • Gadolinium
  • Gadolinium DTPA