Superparamagnetic iron oxides as positive MR contrast agents: In vitro and in vivo evidence
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The ability of superparamagnetic iron oxides (SPIO) and ultrasmall superparamagnetic iron oxides (USPIO) to act as positive contrast enhancers due to a marked T1 relaxivity was investigated. At low concentrations, an important signal enhancement was observed in vitro, reaching 120% for SPIO and 140% for USPIO in a spin echo 500/22 sequence. The more heavily the sequence was T1-weighted the greater the enhancement. As the concentration increased, the signal dropped. The in vivo study of USPIO in the rat showed that at low doses (14 mumol Fe/kg), the myocardial signal was enhanced by 30%, whereas at high doses (77 mumol Fe/kg), it fell by -50%. These results indicate that in T1-weighted spin echo sequences, the MR signal can be enhanced by low concentrations of superparamagnetic compounds. This effect could be useful in perfusion imaging, and is also important for a better understanding of any possible paradoxical positive enhancement which could occur in perfused organs.
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