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Eur Radiol. 2019 Aug;29(8):3959-3967. doi: 10.1007/s00330-018-5803-6. Epub 2018 Nov 9.

Standardized assessment of the signal intensity increase on unenhanced T1-weighted images in the brain: the European Gadolinium Retention Evaluation Consortium (GREC) Task Force position statement.

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Unit of Diagnostic Imaging and Interventional Radiology, Departmental Faculty of Medicine and Surgery, Università Campus Bio-Medico di Roma, via Alvaro del Portillo 21, 00128, Rome, Italy.
Department of Neuroradiology, Centro Hospitalar de Lisboa Central, Alameda Santo António dos Capuchos, 1169-050, Lisbon, Portugal.
Department of Radiology, C2-S, Leiden University Medical Center, Albinusdreef 2, NL-2333 ZA, Leiden, The Netherlands.
Section of Neuroradiology Vall d'Hebron University Hospital, Passeig de la Vall d'Hebron, 119-129, 08035, Barcelona, Spain.
Department of Radiology, German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), Im Neuenheimer Feld 280, 69120, Heidelberg, Germany.


After the initial report in 2014 on T1-weighted (T1w) hyperintensity of deep brain nuclei following serial injections of linear gadolinium-based contrast agents (GBCAs), a multitude of studies on the potential of the marketed GBCAs to cause T1w hyperintensity in the brain have been published. The vast majority of these studies found a signal intensity (SI) increase for linear GBCAs in the brain-first and foremost in the dentate nucleus-while no SI increase was found for macrocyclic GBCAs. However, the scientific debate about this finding is kept alive by the fact that SI differences do not unequivocally represent the amount of gadolinium retained. Since the study design of the SI measurement in various brain structures is relatively simple, MRI studies investigating gadolinium-dependent T1w hyperintensity are currently conducted at multiple institutions worldwide. However, methodological mistakes may result in flawed conclusions. In this position statement, we assess the methodological basis of the published retrospective studies and define quality standards for future studies to give guidance to the scientific community and to help identify studies with potentially flawed methodology and misleading results. KEY POINTS: • A multitude of studies has been published on the potential of the marketed GBCAs to cause T1w hyperintensity in the brain. • The gadolinium-dependent T1w hyperintensity in the brain depends on patient's history, types of GBCAs used (i.e., linear vs. macrocyclic GBCAs) and MR imaging setup and protocols. • Quality standards for the design of future studies are needed to standardize methodology and avoid potentially misleading results from retrospective studies.


Contrast media; Dentate nucleus; Gadolinium; Magnetic resonance imaging

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