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Chemical Structure of Pentetic Acid

What is Pentetic acid?

Pentetic acid or diethylenetriaminepentaacetic acid (DTPA) is a pentacarboxylic acid, being a conjugate acid of a pentetate(1-). More specifically, it is an aminopolycarboxylic acid with a backbone of diethylenetriamine and five groups of carboxymethyl. It exists as a solid compound that is white in color and dissolves partially in water.

The product is currently under development.
Name of Product Pentetic acid
IUPAC Name 2-[bis[2-[bis(carboxymethyl)amino]ethyl]amino]acetic acid
Synonyms Diethylenetriaminepentaacetic acid; DTPA; Detapac; Detarex; Titriplex V; Perma kleer; Monaquest CAI; Penthanil; Dabeersen 503; Penta(carboxymethyl)diethylenetriamine; H5dtpa
CAS No 67-43-6
Molecular Formula C14H23N3O10
Molecular Weight 393.35 g/mol
Pubchem CID 3053

Chemical Properties

SR. No Criteria Limit/Specification
1 Appearance (Form) Solid Powder
2 Appearance (Color) White to Off-White
3 Melting Point 219-220 ºC
4 Solubility Soluble in water (4 g/L at 20° C)
5 pKa Pentabasic (1.5-10.6)


  • Pentetic acid is primarily used in medical and industrial applications where it is utilized for its ability to bind to metal ions and facilitate their removal, i.e. as a chelating agent for complexing and sequestering metal ions.
  • DTPA and its calcium and zinc trisodium compounds are FDA-approved agents for the treatment of transuranic internal contamination, for those who have breathed in or otherwise been contaminated internally by plutonium, americium, or curium.
  • It is often used as a chelating agent in contrast agents for medical imaging procedure, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), where it forms complexes with gadolinium ions, which enhance the visibility of certain tissues and blood vessels.
  • Fertilizer for aquarium plants is also made from DTPA in the form of iron(II) chelate (Fe-DTPA, 10–11 weight%).
  • It can be found in some cosmetics and personal care products, where it is used to stabilize formulations by binding to metal ions that might otherwise catalyze product degradation.
  • It is also used in textile and paper industries to prevent metal ion-induced discoloration of products.

Side effects

  • Some individuals might experience allergic reactions (mild skin reactions) to contrast agents containing pentetic acid and gadolinium when used for medical imaging.
  • There have been rare instances of a condition called nephrogenic systemic fibrosis (NSF) occurring in individuals with severe kidney dysfunction after exposure to gadolinium-based, pentetic acid contrast agents.
  • Excessive use of pentetic acid for removal of heavy metals from body could potentially lead to imbalance of essential minerals and metals.


Q. Is DTPA nephrotoxic?

DTPA is considered to be nephrotoxic at high dosages.

Q. What is the pH of DTPA?

The pH of 1% solution of DTPA ranges between 2.1 to 2.5.

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