Gadolinium-based contrast agents can accumulate in the kidneys and cause side effects. These are the findings of researchers from the University of New Mexico.
To increase the contrast of MRI images, various compounds are introduced into the body. One such contrast agent is preparations of gadolinium, a rare earth metal. It was believed that this element is completely inert for the body, does not harm it and does not affect biological functions.
Now American scientists have found that this metal accumulates in kidney cells. “We studied tissue samples taken from five patients who had repeatedly undergone MRI with contrast, as well as five volunteers who did not undergo this procedure. I was extremely surprised when we found gadolinium nanoparticles in the kidney cells of all five volunteers. It is not yet clear how its atoms are released from drugs, penetrate into cells and form these particles there, ”explained Brent Wagner, one of the authors of the study.
However, most people do not experience any negative symptoms. It is likely that the chances of developing them increase with each new dose, and in some people who have five scans using this metal, gadolinium is also found in the brain.
Scientists have confirmed this in the course of experiments on mice, in whose body they introduced several contrast agents based on gadolinium. Even a single administration of these drugs led to the formation of gadolinium-like nanoparticles in the cells of blood vessels and the epithelium of the kidneys of rodents. At the same time, the function of the kidneys of mice was partially impaired.
Thus, it is necessary to develop new, truly harmless substances for MRI.
Scientists have previously concluded that veganism may be more harmful to the climate than meat consumption.