Diffusion tensor MRI to assess skeletal muscle disruption following eccentric exercise

Muscle Nerve. 2012 Jul;46(1):42-50. doi: 10.1002/mus.23276. Epub 2012 May 29.


Introduction: Structural evidence of exercise-induced muscle disruption has traditionally involved histological analysis of muscle tissue obtained by needle biopsy, however, there are multiple limitations with this technique. Recently, diffusion tensor magnetic resonance imaging (DT-MRI) has been successfully demonstrated to noninvasively assess skeletal muscle abnormalities induced by traumatic injury.

Methods: To determine the potential for DT-MRI to detect musculoskeletal changes after a bout of eccentric exercise, 10 healthy men performed 300 eccentric actions on an isokinetic dynamometer. DT-MRI measurements and muscle biopsies from the vastus lateralis were obtained before and 24 h post-exercise.

Results: Z-band streaming was higher 24 h post-exercise compared with baseline (P < 0.05). The histological indices of damage coincided with changes in DT-MRI parameters of fractional anisotropy (FA) and apparent diffusion coefficient; reflecting altered skeletal muscle geometry (P < 0.05). Z-band streaming quantified per fiber correlated with FA (r = -0.512; P < 0.05).

Conclusions: DT-MRI can detect changes in human skeletal muscle structure following eccentric exercise.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Diffusion Tensor Imaging
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Muscle Contraction / physiology*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / injuries
  • Muscle, Skeletal / pathology*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology