Purpose: To investigate whether diffusion time (Δ) affects the diffusion measurements in liver and their sensitivity in detecting fibrosis.
Methods: Liver fibrosis was induced in Sprague-Dawley rats (n = 12) by carbon tetrachloride (CCl(4)) injections. Diffusion-weighted MRI was performed longitudinally during 8-week CCl(4) administration at 7 Tesla (T) using single-shot stimulated-echo EPI with five b-values (0 to 1000 s/mm(2)) and three Δs. Apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) and true diffusion coefficient (D(true)) were calculated by using all five b-values and large b-values, respectively.
Results: ADC and D(true) decreased with Δ for both normal and fibrotic liver at each time point. ADC and D(true) also generally decreased with the time after CCl(4) insult. The reductions in D(true) between 2-week and 4-week CCl(4) insult were larger than the ADC reductions at all Δs. At each time point, D(true) measured with long Δ (200 ms) detected the largest changes among the 3 Δs examined. Histology revealed gradual collagen deposition and presence of intracellular fat vacuoles after CCl(4) insult.
Conclusion: Our results demonstrated the Δ dependent diffusion measurements, indicating restricted diffusion in both normal and fibrotic liver. D(true) measured with long Δ acted as a more sensitive index of the pathological alterations in liver microstructure during fibrogenesis.
Keywords: b-value; diffusion time; liver fibrosis; rat; restricted diffusion.
Copyright © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.