Dechelation (Transmetalation): Consequences and Safety Concerns With the Linear Gadolinium-Based Contrast Agents, In View of Recent Health Care Rulings by the EMA (Europe), FDA (United States), and PMDA (Japan).

Runge, Val Murray (2018). Dechelation (Transmetalation): Consequences and Safety Concerns With the Linear Gadolinium-Based Contrast Agents, In View of Recent Health Care Rulings by the EMA (Europe), FDA (United States), and PMDA (Japan). Investigative radiology, 53(10), pp. 571-578. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins 10.1097/RLI.0000000000000507

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The issue of dechelation (transmetallation) in vivo after administration of the linear gadolinium-based contrast agents, and potential safety concerns, is considered on the basis of an extensive, focused literature review. Early indications of potential problems included the high level of excess ligand used in the formulation of 2 agents (indeed the 2 least stable thermodynamically) and interference with laboratory tests when blood was drawn from patients relatively soon after administration of these same agents. The advent of nephrogenic systemic fibrosis in the late 2000s raised additional major concerns.The correlation in 2014 of dentate nucleus hyperintensity on precontrast T1-weighted scans with multiple prior injections of linear gadolinium chelates, in patients with normal renal function, has driven subsequent research concerning dechelation of these agents in vivo. Unexpectedly high levels of gadolinium in the bone, skin, and liver have been found long term after administration, in animal models and in humans, although the latter data are limited. Bone may serve as a long-term reservoir, with a residual excretion phase for gadolinium after intravenous injection of the linear agents due to a subsequent slow release from bone. Many different patient populations could be vulnerable and potentially later develop clinical symptoms, although at this stage there are only limited data and small retrospective uncontrolled studies. Possible vulnerable populations include children, menopausal women, patients with osteoporosis (who are predisposed to fractures and often slow to heal or heal poorly), those receiving multiple doses, those with proinflammatory conditions, moderate renal dysfunction, or an undefined genetic predisposition. Of particular concern would be nephrogenic systemic fibrosis-like symptoms-including particularly pain and skin/joint symptoms, or disease related to the incorporation of gadolinium in hydroxyapatite in bone, in small subgroups of patients with a not yet defined propensity and/or cofactor. These concerns have led to withdrawal of the linear agents from the largest clinical market, Europe, with the exception of the hepatobiliary agents for delayed liver imaging, an indication that cannot be fulfilled by the current macrocyclic gadolinium chelates (for which these concerns do not apply).

Item Type:

Journal Article (Review Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of Radiology, Neuroradiology and Nuclear Medicine (DRNN) > Institute of Diagnostic, Interventional and Paediatric Radiology

UniBE Contributor:

Runge, Val Murray


600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health




Lippincott Williams & Wilkins




Isabelle Ursula Saurer

Date Deposited:

07 Mar 2019 15:49

Last Modified:

23 Oct 2019 13:49

Publisher DOI:


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