Gadolinium deposition in the brain: summary of evidence and recommendations

Lancet Neurol. 2017 Jul;16(7):564-570. doi: 10.1016/S1474-4422(17)30158-8. Epub 2017 Jun 13.


Emerging evidence has linked MRI signal changes in deep nuclei of the brain with repeated administration of gadolinium-based contrast agents. Gadolinium deposits have been confirmed in brain tissue, most notably in the dentate nuclei and globus pallidus. Although some linear contrast agents appear to cause greater MRI signal changes than some macrocyclic agents, deposition of gadolinium has also been observed with macrocyclic agents. However, the extent of gadolinium deposition varies between agents. Furthermore, the clinical significance of the retained gadolinium in the brain, if any, remains unknown. No data are available in human beings or animals to show adverse clinical effects due to the gadolinium deposition in the brain. On behalf of the International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine, we present recommendations for the clinical and research use of gadolinium-based contrast agents. These recommendations might evolve as new evidence becomes available.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain / diagnostic imaging*
  • Brain / metabolism*
  • Contrast Media / adverse effects
  • Contrast Media / metabolism*
  • Gadolinium / adverse effects
  • Gadolinium / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / standards*


  • Contrast Media
  • Gadolinium