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The effect of intracarotid injections of methylglucamine iothalamate has been compared with that of mannitol solution of similar osmotic strength. The degree and distribution of blood–brain barrier disruption was assessed using Evans' Blue dye as a visual marker and by contrast enhancement measured by computer tomography (CT) scanner. Evans' Blue staining was found to match CT enhancement closely. It was also found that methylglucamine iothalamate injections resulted in significantly greater blood–brain barrier permeability. The relevance of these findings to chemotherapy of brain tumours is discussed briefly.