Background/aim: Recognition of the limitations of liver biopsies has led to the need for non-invasive tests to assess liver fibrosis from intensity and kinetic point of views. The aim of the present study was to evaluate non-invasive ultrasonic tissue characterization for the continuous monitoring of this process in mice.
Methods: Twelve-week-old male and female C57Bl6/J mice were submitted to repetitive carbon-tetrachloride (CCl4) intraperitoneal injections during 8 weeks or analysed 28 days after common bile duct ligation (BDL). The extent and kinetic of the disease progression were followed by the measurement of ultrasound backscatter intensity. This was compared with histological and blood parameter analysis.
Results: CCl4 induced a progressive increase in in vivo liver tissue backscatter intensity in both males and females. This increase was mainly correlated with interstitial fibrosis and, to a lower extent, with nuclear surface of the hepatocytes. A similar result was found after BDL.
Conclusions: These data demonstrate for the first time in a systematic study that ultrasound tissue characterization can be used as a reliable tool to follow liver remodelling in mice continuously.