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Impact of Ferumoxytol Magnetic Resonance Imaging on the Rhesus Macaque Maternal-Fetal Interface

By Sydney M. Nguyen, Gregory J Wiepz, Michele Schotzko, Heather A. Simmons, Andres Mejia, Kai D Ludwig, Ante Zhu, Kevin Brunner, Diego Hernando, Scott B Reeder, Oliver Wieben, Kevin Johnson, Dinesh Shah, Thaddeus G Golos

Posted 11 Jul 2019
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/699835 (published DOI: 10.1093/biolre/ioz181)

Ferumoxytol is a superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticle (SPION) used off-label as an intravascular magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) contrast agent. Additionally, ferumoxytol-uptake by macrophages facilitates detection of inflammatory sites by MRI through ferumoxytol-induced image contrast changes. Therefore, ferumoxytol-enhanced MRI holds great potential for assessing vascular function and inflammatory response, critical to determine placental health in pregnancy. This study sought to assess the fetoplacental unit and selected maternal tissues, pregnancy outcomes, and fetal well-being after ferumoxytol administration. In initial developmental studies, pregnant rhesus macaques were imaged with and without ferumoxytol administration. Pregnancies went to term with vaginal delivery and infants showed normal growth rates compared to control animals born the same year that did not undergo MRI. To determine the impact of ferumoxytol on the maternal-fetal interface, fetal well-being, and pregnancy outcome, four pregnant rhesus macaques at ~100 gd (gestational day) underwent MRI before and after ferumoxytol administration. Collection of the fetoplacental unit and selected maternal tissues was performed 3-4 days following ferumoxytol administration. A control group that did not receive ferumoxytol or MRI was used for comparison. Iron levels in fetal and maternal-fetal interface tissues did not vary between groups. There was no significant difference in tissue histopathology with or without exposure to ferumoxytol, and no effect on placental hormone secretion. Together, these results suggest that the use of ferumoxytol and MRI in pregnant rhesus macaques will not introduce a detectable risk to the mother or fetus at the time of imaging or up to one year following normal vaginal delivery.

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