Extremely Small Pseudoparamagnetic Iron Oxide Nanoparticle as a Novel Blood Pool T1 Magnetic Resonance Contrast Agent for 3 T Whole-Heart Coronary Angiography in Canines: Comparison With Gadoterate Meglumine

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Abstract

Objective

The aim of this study was to evaluate an extremely small pseudoparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticle (ESPIO), KEG3, as a potential blood pool agent in 3 T coronary magnetic resonance angiography (MRA) in canine models and compare its efficacy to that of a gadolinium-based contrast agent.

Materials and Methods

Nine mongrel dogs were subjected to whole-heart coronary MRA in 2 separate sessions at 7-day intervals with a 3 T scanner using the FLASH sequence with either gadoterate meglumine (Gd-DOTA) or the ESPIO (KEG3). Coronary MRA was performed twice at each MR examination: the first scan during the administration of the contrast agent and the subsequent second scan at 15 minutes after contrast injection. Objective measurements of the Gd-DOTA and ESPIO images, including the signal-to-noise ratios (SNRs) for the coronary arteries and cardiac veins, contrast-to-noise ratios (CNRs) between the vessels and fat (CNRfat) and the vessels and the myocardium (CNRmyocardium), and subjective image quality scores on a 4-point scale were evaluated and compared.

Results

The mean SNRs and CNRs of all vascular regions in the ESPIO images were similar to those of the corresponding regions in the Gd-DOTA images in the first scan (98.1 ± 32.5 vs 79.1 ± 38.4 for SNR of coronary arteries, P = 0.3; 74.2 ± 30.1 vs 61.4 ± 38.5 for CNR, P = 0.7) and more than 2 times higher than the latter in the second scan (95.2 ± 31.3 vs 32.1 ± 8.1 for SNR of coronary arteries, P = 0.008; 76.1 ± 35.8 vs 17.6 ± 19.2 for CNR, P 0.008). Similarly, the mean values of the subjective measurements of the ESPIO images were similar to those of the Gd-DOTA images (3.9 ± 0.3 vs 3.3 ± 0.8 for coronary arteries, P = 0.1) in the first scan and significantly better than the latter in the second scan (3.9 ± 0.2 vs 2.1 ± 0.6 for coronary arteries, P = 0.007).

Conclusions

The experimental blood pool agent KEG3 offers equivalent image quality for whole-heart coronary MRA at 3 T upon contrast administration and persistent better quality in the subsequent scans, compared with a traditional extracellular gadolinium-based contrast agent.

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