Rationale and objectives: To evaluate magnetic resonance (MR) imaging characteristics of the cisternal administration of gadopentetate dimeglumine (gadolinium) in a small experimental animal.
Methods: Four female New Zealand White rabbits were used for this experiment. Each rabbit received a single dose of intrathecal gadolinium (doses ranged from 75-100 micromol) via a cisternal puncture. Immediate and delayed sagittal and axial T1-weighted images of the brain and cervical spinal cord were acquired on a 2 Tesla CSI magnet.
Results: All the rabbits tolerated the experiment well, without significant alterations in behavior or seizure activity. During the early phase of imaging, subarachnoid space enhancement was observed over the surface of the brain parenchyma and spinal cord on T1-weighted images. Gradual diffusion of the gadolinium into the cranial parenchyma was seen on the delayed MR studies (45 minutes-6 hours), as revealed by progressive generalized enhancement of the brain. Sustained enhancement of gray matter of the spinal cord was observed.
Conclusion: This study illustrates that there is no barrier between the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and the brain-spinal cord with regard to gadolinium. Possible practical applications for gadolinium-enhanced MR myelography or cisternography include the assessment of communication or obstruction of CSF pathways, subarachnoid space CSF flow pattern analysis, spontaneous or acquired CSF fistula evaluation, evaluation of the intercommunication of central nervous system cystic structures bordering on CSF pathways, and the study of the dynamics of gadolinium diffusion in the central nervous system parenchyma.