Home Science & Technology A simple MRI prescription contrasts up to four times

A simple MRI prescription contrasts up to four times

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Nature Communications (2022). DOI: 10.1038/s41467-022-32615-3″ width=”800″ height=”530″/>

MR angiography in vivo. a, b Whole-body contrast-enhanced MR angiography (MRA) images of rat and b rabbit immediately after bolus injection of (i) Gd-DTPA and (ii) ACNC. c MRA images of the upper body of a beagle dog immediately (IM) and 20 seconds after bolus injection of (i) Gd-DTPA and (ii) ACNC, respectively. (C) and (S) represent the coronal plane and sagittal plane, respectively. d SNR ROI quantification in (i) brachiocephalic trunk artery, (ii) left subclavian artery, (iii) left common carotid artery, (iv) right branch of olfactory artery of a purebred dog and in (v) descending aorta, (vi) aortic arch , (vii) rabbit ascending aorta, respectively. The time to quantify ROI SNR was during the “IM” period (n = 3 independent experiments). Data show mean ± SD. P was calculated using a two-tailed Student’s t-test (**P Nature Communications (2022). DOI: 10.1038/s41467-022-32615-3

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) makes the internal structures of the body visible. However, before people or animals are placed in the “tube”, they are injected with a contrast agent to make visibility possible in the first place.


In the article published in Communications of natureA German-Chinese research team led by Professor Helmut Kölfen, a chemist from Konstanz, Germany, describes how calcium carbonate clusters can be used before nucleation to produce contrast means by enriching them with gadolinium ions. This contrast agent can be produced easily and cheaply, has no toxic properties, and provides three to four times more contrast than conventional commercial contrast agents.

A paradigm shift in the theory of the origin of all materials

Pre-nucleation clusters were discovered a few years ago by Helmut Kölfen’s research group. This led to a a paradigm shift in the theory of nucleation — the theory of the formation of all solid and liquid materials. While classic textbooks describe nucleation as a single step from individual ions, atoms, or molecules to mineralization, Kölfen’s research group recognized four steps.

In this context, prenucleation clusters represent a liquid precursor to crystallization. To study in Nature Communications, the researchers added gadolinium ions to the calcium carbonate pre-nucleation clusters. Gadolinium is a very heavy element that provides contrast in magnetic resonance imaging and is also used in commercial contrast media.

“The recipe is very simple,” says Helmut Kölfen, professor of physical chemistry. Gadolinium chloride only needs to be added to the calcium chloride solution and the prenucleated clusters stabilized with polyacrylic acid. As a result, a clear aqueous solution is obtained, to which sodium carbonate is added to form prenucleated calcium carbonate/gadolinium clusters.

The water content is responsible for resonance imaging

The size of these clusters is only one and a half nanometers, that is, one and a half billionths of a millimeter. They have a very high water content 20 percent, which is ultimately responsible for the contrast in magnetic resonance imaging.

Contrast agent from prenucleation clusters provides three to four times more contrast in MRI images compared to the same amount of commercially produced agents. Helmut Kölfen notes another advantage: “From a medical point of view, you can use less contrast material if the contrast is already sufficient.”

For research, it was produced in a volume of two and a half liters. This is a large number for basic science, where work is usually done in the milliliter range. “The chemicals used cost only a few euros,” says Helmut Kölfen. The new contrast agent can be used directly for clinical trials.


Structure of natural nacre, synthetic replication


Additional information:
Liang Dong et al., Highly Hydrated Paramagnetic Amorphous Calcium Carbonate Nanoclusters as an MRI Contrast Agent, Communications of nature (2022). DOI: 10.1038/s41467-022-32615-3

Citation: A simple recipe to increase MRI contrast up to four times (2022, September 7) Retrieved September 7, 2022, from https://phys.org/news/2022-09-simple-recipe-mri-contrasts-higher.html

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