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This investigation evaluated the potential effect of gadolinium (Gd)-DTPA-dimeglumine on synovial membrane and joint cartilage, using macroscopic, microscopic, and x-ray fluorescent spectroscopic techniques. Thirteen New Zealand white rabbits (26 knees) were used in this study, ten receiving 500 micromolar injections of Gd-DTPA-dimeglumine in their right knees; the remainder of the knees served as controls. One injected knee had minimal joint effusion and one had mild hyperemia. Microscopically four knees exhibited mild focal hyperplasia of the synovium, another three minimal focal mononuclear cell infiltration. X-ray fluorescent spectroscopy demonstrated no evidence of Gd-DTPA-dimeglumine in the synovium or articular cartilage. Neither macroscopic nor microscopic evaluation detected any Gd-DTPA-dimeglumine related effects. Gd-DTPA-dimeglumine was found to be safe for intra-articular injection in this animal model.