Gadolinium Chelate Safety in Pregnancy: Barely Detectable Gadolinium Levels in the Juvenile Nonhuman Primate after in Utero Exposure

Radiology. 2018 Jan;286(1):122-128. doi: 10.1148/radiol.2017162534. Epub 2017 Sep 4.


Purpose To determine whether gadolinium remains in juvenile nonhuman primate tissue after maternal exposure to intravenous gadoteridol during pregnancy. Materials and Methods Gravid rhesus macaques and their offspring (n = 10) were maintained, as approved by the institutional animal care and utilization committee. They were prospectively studied as part of a pre-existing ongoing research protocol to evaluate the effects of maternal malnutrition on placental and fetal development. On gestational days 85 and 135, they underwent placental magnetic resonance imaging after intravenous gadoteridol administration. Amniocentesis was performed on day 135 prior to administration of the second dose of gadoteridol. After delivery, the offspring were followed for 7 months. Tissue samples from eight different organs and from blood were harvested from each juvenile macaque. Gadolinium levels were measured by using inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry. Results Gadolinium concentration in the amniotic fluid was 0.028 × 10-5 %ID/g (percentage injected dose per gram of tissue) 50 days after administration of one gadoteridol dose. Gadolinium was most consistently detected in the femur (mean, 2.5 × 10-5 %ID/g; range, [0.81-4.1] × 10-5 %ID/g) and liver (mean, 0.15 × 10-5 %ID/g; range, [0-0.26] × 10-5 %ID/g). Levels were undetectable in the remaining sampled tissues, with the exception of one juvenile skin sample (0.07 × 10-5 %ID/g), one juvenile spleen sample (0.039 × 10-5 %ID/g), and one juvenile brain (0.095 × 10-5 %ID/g) and kidney (0.13 × 10-5 %ID/g) sample. Conclusion The presence of gadoteridol in the amniotic fluid after maternal injection enables confirmation that it crosses the placenta. Extremely low levels of gadolinium are found in juvenile macaque tissues after in utero exposure to two doses of gadoteridol, indicating that a very small amount of gadolinium persists after delivery. © RSNA, 2017.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Amniotic Fluid / chemistry
  • Animals
  • Contrast Media / adverse effects
  • Contrast Media / pharmacokinetics*
  • Female
  • Gadolinium / adverse effects
  • Gadolinium / pharmacokinetics
  • Heterocyclic Compounds / adverse effects
  • Heterocyclic Compounds / pharmacokinetics*
  • Macaca mulatta
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods
  • Maternal Exposure*
  • Organometallic Compounds / adverse effects
  • Organometallic Compounds / pharmacokinetics*
  • Pregnancy
  • Tissue Distribution


  • Contrast Media
  • Heterocyclic Compounds
  • Organometallic Compounds
  • gadoteridol
  • Gadolinium