OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to assess the signal intensity of the anterior pituitary (AP) gland on unenhanced T1-weighted images in patients with history of serial intravenous injections of gadodiamide and normal renal function.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: We included 53 patients who had undergone at least 5 injections of gadodiamide and a control group of 15 subjects who underwent at least 5 brain magnetic resonance imaging without gadolinium-based contrast agents. Using unenhanced sagittal T1-weighted images, values of mean signal intensity of the AP and of the central pons were obtained. Anterior pituitary-to-pons signal intensity ratios were calculated dividing the values of the AP by those of the pons. Then, the ratios were compared between the first and the last magnetic resonance imaging scans for all the subjects. To assess the difference between the first and the last ratios, nonparametric Wilcoxon signed-rank test with Monte Carlo resampling was applied. A P value less than 0.05 was considered as statistically significant.
RESULTS: The comparison between the first and the last scan revealed a statistically significant increase of AP-to-pons ratio in the last scan for the gadolinium-exposed group (P < 0.001), whereas nonsignificant results were found for the control group (P = nonsignificant).
CONCLUSIONS: We found an increased signal intensity of the AP on unenhanced T1-weighted images in patients with history of serial intravenous injections of gadodiamide and normal renal function, suggesting gadolinium deposition or long-term retention within the AP gland. Our findings need to be confirmed by further histochemical analysis of AP gland tissue samples.