A multiparametric quantitative MRI study to assess the validity of the spleen as a reference organ for evaluation of liver disease
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Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD) is an increasingly common affliction linked to the incidence of diabetes and obesity. The hallmark symptom of NAFLD is liver fibrosis, a change in tissue tiber structure in response to disease. NAFLD is currently defined as a histopathologic condition requiring biopsy to diagnose. However, the significant morbidity and high sampling variability associated with biopsy make it less than ideal for clinical use. Several non-invasive, imaging based methods have been proposed to track progression of liver fibrosis and NAFLD. Quantitative MRI techniques using T2 and Apparent Diffusion Coefficient (ADC) are particularly promising. The spleen is typically used as a reference organ for liver studies due to its proximity in vivo to the liver. The objective of this study is to show that the MR parameters of the spleen do not change in response to liver disease, and that the spleen is an appropriate reference organ for imaging of the liver. Volume, T2, and ADC data were reference organ for imaging of the liver. Volume, T2, and ADC data were acquired from spleens of mice at progressively more serious stages of NAFLD. Volumes of spleens showed an increase from early to late stage NAFLD. T2 and ADC remained the same throughout the course of disease. The results of this study indicate spleens experience no consistent change in liver disease sensitive MR parameters, and therefore are an appropriate reference organ for NAFLD diagnosis via MR imaging.
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