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Magn Reson Imaging. 2004 Apr;22(3):389-93.

Euterpe Olerácea (Açaí) as an alternative oral contrast agent in MRI of the gastrointestinal system: preliminary results.

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  • 1Department de Fisica e Matematica, FFCLRP, Universidade de Sao Paulo, Av. Bandeirantes 3900, Ribeirao Preto Sao Paulo 14, 040-91, Brazil.


Using contrast agents is a common practice in medical imaging protocols. Paramagnetic properties of certain compounds present in contrast agents can affect magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) signals. For abdominal applications, they are usually injected, but may also be administered orally. However, their use as a routine technique is limited, mainly due to the lack of appropriate oral contrast agents. We herein present the preliminary characterization and results for implementation of Euterpe Olerácea (popularly named Açaí) as a possible clinical oral contrast agent for MRI of the gastrointestinal tract. The pulp of Açaí, a fruit from the Amazon area, presented an increase in T(1)-weighted MRI signal, equivalent to that of gadolinium-diethyltriamine pentaacetic acid, and a decrease in T(2)-weighted images. We looked for intrinsic properties that could be responsible for the T(1) signal enhancement and T(2) opacification. Atomic absorption spectra revealed the presence of Fe, Mn and Cu ions in Açai. The presence of such ions contribute to the susceptometric value found of chi = -4.83 x 10(-6). This finding assents with the hypothesis that image contrast changes were due to the presence of paramagnetic material. The first measurements in vivo demonstrate a clear increase of contrast, in T(1)-weighted images, due to the presence of Açaí. Consistently, the opacification in a T(2)-weighted acquisition was evident, revealing a good contrast on bowel walls of gastric tissues.

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