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MRI Contrast Agents
• Intro •
  • Intro
• Contrast Agents For Intravenous Use / Magnetic Characteristics
• Contrast Agents For Intravenous Use / Pharmacokinetics
• Contrast Agents For Intravenous Use / Distribution
• Contrast Agents For Oral Use / Magnetic Characteristics
• Contrast Agents For Oral Use / Signal Characteristics
Radiology Contrast Agents Open this link in a new window Ultrasound Imaging Contrast Agents Open this link in a new window
Contrast Agents 
Contrast agents are chemical substances introduced to the anatomical or functional region being imaged, to increase the differences between different tissues or between normal and abnormal tissue, by altering the relaxation times. MRI contrast agents are classified by the different changes in relaxation times after their injection.
Positive contrast agents cause a reduction in the T1 relaxation time (increased signal intensity on T1 weighted images). They (appearing bright on MRI) are typically small molecular weight compounds containing as their active element Gadolinium, Manganese, or Iron. All of these elements have unpaired electron spins in their outer shells and long relaxivities.
Some typical contrast agents as gadopentetate dimeglumine, gadoteridol, and gadoterate meglumine are utilized for the central nervous system and the complete body; mangafodipir trisodium is specially used for lesions of the liver and gadodiamide for the central nervous system.
Negative contrast agents (appearing predominantly dark on MRI) are small particulate aggregates often termed superparamagnetic iron oxide (SPIO). These agents produce predominantly spin spin relaxation effects (local field inhomogeneities), which results in shorter T1 and T2 relaxation times.
SPIO's and ultrasmall superparamagnetic iron oxides (USPIO) usually consist of a crystalline iron oxide core containing thousands of iron atoms and a shell of polymer, dextran, polyethyleneglycol, and produce very high T2 relaxivities. USPIOs smaller than 300 nm cause a substantial T1 relaxation. T2 weighted effects are predominant.
A special group of negative contrast agents (appearing dark on MRI) are perfluorocarbons (perfluorochemicals), because their presence excludes the hydrogen atoms responsible for the signal in MR imaging.
The design objectives for the next generation of MR contrast agents will likely focus on prolonging intravascular retention, improving tissue targeting, and accessing new contrast mechanisms. Macromolecular paramagnetic contrast agents are being tested worldwide. Preclinical data shows that these agents demonstrate great promise for improving the quality of MR angiography, and in quantificating capillary permeability and myocardial perfusion.
Ultrasmall superparamagnetic iron oxide (USPIO) particles have been evaluated in multicenter clinical trials for lymph node MR imaging and MR angiography, with the clinical impact under discussion. In addition, a wide variety of vector and carrier molecules, including antibodies, peptides, proteins, polysaccharides, liposomes, and cells have been developed to deliver magnetic labels to specific sites. Technical advances in MR imaging will further increase the efficacy and necessity of tissue-specific MRI contrast agents.
See also Adverse Reaction and Nephrogenic Systemic Fibrosis.

See also the related poll result: 'The development of contrast agents in MRI is'
Images, Movies, Sliders:
 Delayed Myocardial Contrast Enhancement from Infarct  Open this link in a new window

Courtesy of  Robert R. Edelman
 Left Circumflex Ischemia First-pass Contrast Enhancement  Open this link in a new window
 MR Colonography Gadolinium per Rectum  Open this link in a new window

Courtesy of  Robert R. Edelman
 CE MRA of the Aorta  Open this link in a new window
SlidersSliders Overview


• View the NEWS results for 'Contrast Agents' (25).Open this link in a new window.

• View the DATABASE results for 'Contrast Agents' (122).Open this link in a new window

Further Reading:
  Contrast Agents - Overview top
Radiology Contrast Agents Open this link in a new window Ultrasound Imaging Contrast Agents Open this link in a new window
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