Alcoholic liver disease: quantitative image-guided P-31 MR spectroscopy

Radiology. 1989 Nov;173(2):393-400. doi: 10.1148/radiology.173.2.2798871.


Phosphorus-31 magnetic resonance (MR) spectroscopy was performed on the liver of patients with alcoholic hepatitis (n = 10), alcoholic cirrhosis (n = 9), and viral hepatitis B (n = 3) and on healthy control subjects (n = 21). A hydrogen-1 MR image-guided localization technique (ISIS) was used to acquire P-31 spectra selectively from a volume of interest within the liver. Spectra were analyzed to yield absolute molar concentrations of hepatic phosphomonoesters, phosphodiesters, inorganic phosphate, and adenosine triphosphate. It was found that (a) hepatic metabolite ratios in alcoholic liver disease were not significantly different from those in healthy subjects, (b) absolute hepatic metabolite concentrations were decreased by 25%-46% in alcoholic hepatitis and 13%-50% in alcoholic cirrhosis compared with those in healthy subjects, and (c) hepatic intracellular pH was 7.4 in healthy subjects, more acidic in alcoholic cirrhosis, and more alkaline in alcoholic hepatitis. The findings indicate that hepatic metabolite ratios are not a sensitive measure of alcoholic liver disease, that quantitative P-31 MR spectroscopy is able to noninvasively show metabolic changes associated with alcoholic liver disease, and that alcoholic hepatitis and cirrhosis may be distinguished by means of hepatic intracellular pH measured with MR spectroscopy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adenosine Triphosphate / analysis
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Hepatitis B / diagnosis
  • Hepatitis B / metabolism
  • Hepatitis, Alcoholic / diagnosis*
  • Hepatitis, Alcoholic / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Liver / analysis
  • Liver Cirrhosis, Alcoholic / diagnosis*
  • Liver Cirrhosis, Alcoholic / metabolism
  • Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy* / methods
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Organophosphates / analysis
  • Phosphates / analysis


  • Organophosphates
  • Phosphates
  • Adenosine Triphosphate