2018 Volume 17 Issue 2 Pages 111-119
After Kanda’s first report in 2014 on gadolinium (Gd) deposition in brain tissue, a considerable number of studies have investigated the explanation for the observation. Gd deposition in brain tissue after repeated administration of gadolinium-based contrast medium (GBCM) has been histologically proven, and chelate stability has been shown to affect the deposition. However, the mechanism for this deposition has not been fully elucidated. Recently, a hypothesis was introduced that involves the ‘glymphatic system’, which is a coined word that combines ‘gl’ for glia cell and ‘lymphatic’ system. According to this hypothesis, the perivascular space functions as a conduit for cerebrospinal fluid to flow into the brain parenchyma. The perivascular space around the arteries allows cerebrospinal fluid to enter the interstitial space of the brain tissue through water channels controlled by aquaporin 4. The cerebrospinal fluid entering the interstitial space clears waste proteins from the tissue. It then flows into the perivascular space around the vein and is discharged outside the brain. In addition to the hypothesis regarding the glymphatic system, some reports have described that after GBCM administration, some of the GBCM distributes through systemic blood circulation and remains in other compartments including the cerebrospinal fluid. It is thought that the GBCM distributed into the cerebrospinal fluid cavity via the glymphatic system may remain in brain tissue for a longer duration compared to the GBCM in systemic circulation. Glymphatic system may of course act as a clearance system for GBCM from brain tissue. Based on these findings, the mechanism for Gd deposition in the brain will be discussed in this review. The authors speculate that the glymphatic system may be the major contributory factor to the deposition and clearance of gadolinium in brain tissue.