Logo of the Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt

Long-lived gadolinium


In many clinical MRI examinations, contrast agents containing Gd are used to better visualize blood vessels or certain organs. Since it was discovered about 10 years ago that this can lead to long-term depositions of gadolinium in the brain, the question of the underlying mechanisms -when and how are such depositions occurring?- has been of the highest scientific interest. Patrick Schünke from AG 8.13, together with colleagues from the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), Charité-Universitätsmedizin Berlin and the Leibniz Research Institute for Molecular Pharmacology (FMP), has now been able to make an important contribution to clarifying these questions. With their work in the framework of the DFG Collaborative Research Center SFB 1340 "Matrix in Vision", the scientists were able to show that the presence of glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) negatively affects the stability of gadolinium-based MR contrast agents and that the binding of dissolved gadolinium ions to GAGs is a possible explanation for the observed long-term signal increases in MR images. These results were published under the title "An NMR relaxometry approach for quantitative investigation of the transchelation of gadolinium ions from GBCAs to a competing macromolecular chelator" in Scientific Reports. In a follow-up paper, now published in ChemMedChem under the title "Investigating the Role of Sulfate Groups for the Binding of Gd3+ Ions to Glycosaminoglycans with NMR Relaxo-metry", it was then shown that sulfate groups significantly affect the binding potential of GAGs for gadolinium ions and that it is presumably a site-specific binding.

The two open access papers are available at https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-021-00974-4 and https://doi.org/10.1002/cmdc.202100764.


Dr. Patrick Schünke, 8.13, E-Mail: Opens local program for sending emailPatrick.Schuenke(at)ptb.de


Head of Press and Information Office

Dr. Dr. Jens Simon

Phone: +49 531 592-3005


Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt
Bundesallee 100
38116 Braunschweig