Assessment of renal fibrosis in chronic kidney disease using diffusion-weighted MRI

Clin Radiol. 2014 Nov;69(11):1117-22. doi: 10.1016/j.crad.2014.06.011. Epub 2014 Jul 23.


Aim: To assess the performance of diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) for the assessment of renal fibrosis in chronic kidney disease (CKD), with histopathology as a reference standard.

Materials and methods: Forty patients with CKD and 30 healthy volunteers were recruited for the study. All participants underwent diffusion-weighted MRI. Renal biopsy was performed in 25 patients with CKD. Mean renal medullary and cortical apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) values were compared between CKD patients and the healthy volunteers. Pearson's correlation coefficient was calculated to investigate the relationship between ADC values, serum creatinine (SCr), estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR), 24 h urinary protein (24h-UPRO), and renal histopathological scores.

Results: Cortical and medullary ADC values in the CKD group were significantly lower compared to those in the healthy controls. In the CKD group, a significant negative correlation was found between cortical ADC values and SCr/24h-UPRO, and significant positive correlation was found between cortical ADC and eGFR. There was also a significant negative correlation between medullary ADC values and SCr. Both cortical and medullary ADC values were significantly correlated with histopathological fibrosis score.

Conclusion: Renal ADC values strongly correlate with histological measures of fibrosis, and have the potential to enhance the non-invasive monitoring of chronic kidney disease.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Biopsy
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Creatinine / blood
  • Diffusion Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Female
  • Fibrosis
  • Glomerular Filtration Rate
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Proteinuria / diagnosis
  • Renal Insufficiency, Chronic / pathology*


  • Creatinine