Gadolinium-based MRI contrast agent Dotarem is commonly used in the clinic. Free Gd3+ is very toxic. Because the crystallographic radius of Gd3+ and Ca2+ is very similar, Gd3+ can compete with Ca2+ in the regulations of cellular functions. Gadolinium is retained in organs and tissues, but the effects of gadolinium retention are mostly unknown. There is also no information how gadolinium retention impacts immune cells and signaling pathways regulated by Ca2+ such as RhoA/mTORC1 and mTORC2, which control various, including actin cytoskeleton-dependent, cellular functions. We developed the 7T MRI-based method to analyze gadolinium-based MRI contrast agent retention in isolated immune cells (macrophages) and study the effects of gadolinium retention on the expression of RhoA, mTORC1, mTORC2, and mitochondria, Golgi, and ER markers. We showed that macrophages retain gadolinium for at least seven days after exposure. Gadolinium retention downregulated the expression of RhoA, mTORC1 component Raptor and mTORC2 component Rictor proteins, and dysregulated the expression level of organelle markers. The method described here can be used for monitoring gadolinium levels and effects in isolated cells, such as the immune cells in the blood of patients exposed to contrast-enhanced MRI.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number100085
JournalJournal of Magnetic Resonance Open
StatePublished - Dec 2022


  • 7T MRI
  • Actin
  • Dotarem
  • ER
  • Gadolinium
  • Golgi
  • Macrophage
  • Magnetic resonance imaging
  • Mitochondria
  • mTOR
  • Raptor
  • Retention
  • RhoA
  • Rictor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Spectroscopy
  • Analytical Chemistry


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