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Targeted MRI Contrast Agents for Pediatric Hepatobiliary Disease

Courtier, Jesse L.*; Perito, Emily R.; Rhee, Sue; Tsai, Patrika; Heyman, Melvin B.; MacKenzie, John D.*

Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology & Nutrition: April 2012 - Volume 54 - Issue 4 - p 454–462
doi: 10.1097/MPG.0b013e3182467a4b
Invited Reviews

ABSTRACT: New options are available for the magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) assessment of pediatric hepatobiliary disease. This article describes the potential utility for MRI with contrast agents tailored for hepatobiliary imaging. MRI contrast agents that preferentially target the liver may be helpful in characterizing liver masses and bile duct abnormalities in select children. The imaging approach is noninvasive and relatively rapid to perform. It also provides anatomic and functional information and is a radiation-free alternative to other imaging strategies. This relatively new imaging procedure is placed in the context of more established imaging modalities. The pharmacokinetics, technical considerations, and potential applications of these hepatobiliary-specific contrast agents also are discussed.

*Department of Radiology and Biomedical Imaging

Department of Pediatrics, UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital, San Francisco, CA.

Address correspondence and reprint requests to John D. MacKenzie, MD, Assistant Professor and Chief of Pediatric Radiology, Department of Biomedical Imaging, Pediatric Radiology, UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital, 505 Parnassus Ave, San Francisco, CA 94143-0628 (e-mail:

Received 16 June, 2011

Accepted 12 December, 2011

The present study was supported in part by NIH grants K24 DK060617 (MBH) and T32 DK00762 (ERP).

The authors report no conflicts of interest.

Copyright 2012 by ESPGHAN and NASPGHAN