Gadolinium-based contrast agents: Stimulators of myeloid-induced renal fibrosis and major metabolic disruptors

Toxicol Appl Pharmacol. 2019 Jul 15;375:32-45. doi: 10.1016/j.taap.2019.05.009. Epub 2019 May 10.


Evidence for gadolinium-based contrast agent- (GBCA-) induced disease continues to mount. Risk factors for gadolinium-induced systemic fibrosis are entirely unexplored. Obesity-related renal injury is characterized by activation of glomerular mesangial cells and podocyte damage with alteration of lipid metabolism/lipid accumulation in both cell types resulting in matrix accumulation and eventual progression to glomerulosclerosis. We examined the consequences of GBCA treatment in the kidneys from mice with normal kidney function and the potential interplay between obesity and gadolinium exposure. We found that administration of GBCA (4 weeks) causes significant renal fibrosis and podocyte injury that are associated with metabolic disorders as evidenced by dyslipidemia. Metabolomic analysis demonstrated that renal lipid metabolism and metabolic markers of collagen turnover are significantly altered by gadolinium. GBCA stimulates myeloid-derived fibrocytes to the kidney. Obesity was induced by feeding a group of mice a high fat diet (HFD) for 22 weeks. Groups were sub-randomized to GBCA treatment versus none for 4 weeks before sacrifice. HFD-induced fibrosis and podocyte injury were worsened by GBCA. Similarly, HFD-mediated hyperlipidemia and lipid metabolites were exacerbated by gadolinium. This is the first evidence that GBCA causes significant metabolic disorders and kidney injury in mice without renal insufficiency and that the injurious actions of GBCA are amplified by obesity. The understanding of the functional interplay between gadolinium and obesity will allow the development of therapeutic interventions or the establishment of effective preventive measures to reduce gadolinium- and obesity-mediated renal pathologies.

Keywords: Antigens, CD45; Bone marrow; CCR2; Chemokines; Fibrosis; Gadolinium; Nephrogenic fibrosing dermopathy; Renal insufficiency.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bone Marrow Transplantation
  • Contrast Media / adverse effects*
  • Diet, High-Fat
  • Female
  • Fibrosis
  • Gadolinium / adverse effects*
  • Kidney / pathology
  • Kidney Diseases / chemically induced*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Nephrectomy
  • Random Allocation


  • Contrast Media
  • Gadolinium