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Chronic inflammatory response in the rat lung to commonly used contrast agents for videofluoroscopy.

  • Author(s): Ueha, Rumi
  • Nativ-Zeltzer, Nogah
  • Sato, Taku
  • Goto, Takao
  • Nito, Takaharu
  • Tsunoda, Koichi
  • Belafsky, Peter C
  • Yamasoba, Tatsuya
  • et al.

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Contrast agents (CAs) are essential for upper gastrointestinal and videofluoroscopic swallow studies (VFSSs). Recently, we reported that small amounts of Ba aspiration caused severe acute lung inflammation in a rodent model. However, the underlying molecular biological mechanisms of chronic response to CA aspiration remain unclear. The aims of this study were to explore the underlying molecular biological mechanisms of the chronic response to three kinds of CA aspiration on the lung.

Study design

Animal model.


Eight-week-old male Sprague Dawley rats were divided into five groups (n = 6, each group). Three groups underwent tracheal instillation of one of three CAs: barium sulfate (Ba), ionic iodinated contrast agent (ICA), and nonionic iodinated contrast agent (NICA). A sham group was instilled with air and a control group was instilled with saline. All animals were euthanized 30 days after treatment and histological and gene analyses were performed.


No animal died after CA or sham/control aspiration. Ba particles remained after 30 days and caused histopathologic changes and inflammatory cell infiltration. Iodinated ICA and NICA did not result in perceptible histologic change. Expression of Tnf, an inflammatory cytokine was increased in only Ba aspirated rats (P = .0076). Other inflammatory cytokines and fibrosis-related genes did not alter between groups.


Aspirated Ba particles did not clear from the lung within a month and caused mild chronic pulmonary inflammation. ICA and NICA did not cause any inflammatory responses in the lungs, suggesting that ICA and NICA may be safer CAs for VFSS than Ba.

Level of evidence


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