Separation of fluid and solid shear wave fields and quantification of coupling density by magnetic resonance poroelastography

Magn Reson Med. 2021 Mar;85(3):1655-1668. doi: 10.1002/mrm.28507. Epub 2020 Sep 9.


Purpose: Biological soft tissues often have a porous architecture comprising fluid and solid compartments. Upon displacement through physiological or externally induced motion, the relative motion of these compartments depends on poroelastic parameters, such as coupling density ( ρ12 ) and tissue porosity. This study introduces inversion recovery MR elastography (IR-MRE) (1) to quantify porosity defined as fluid volume over total volume, (2) to separate externally induced shear strain fields of fluid and solid compartments, and (3) to quantify coupling density assuming a biphasic behavior of in vivo brain tissue.

Theory and methods: Porosity was measured in eight tofu phantoms and gray matter (GM) and white matter (WM) of 21 healthy volunteers. Porosity of tofu was compared to values obtained by fluid draining and microscopy. Solid and fluid shear-strain amplitudes and ρ12 were estimated both in phantoms and in in vivo brain.

Results: T1 -based measurement of tofu porosity agreed well with reference values (R = 0.99, P < .01). Brain tissue porosity was 0.14 ± 0.02 in GM and 0.05 ± 0.01 in WM (P < .001). Fluid shear strain was found to be phase-locked with solid shear strain but had lower amplitudes in both tofu phantoms and brain tissue (P < .05). In accordance with theory, tofu and brain ρ12 were negative.

Conclusion: IR-MRE allowed for the first time separation of shear strain fields of solid and fluid compartments for measuring coupling density according to the biphasic theory of poroelasticity. Thus, IR-MRE opens horizons for poroelastography-derived imaging markers that can be used in basic research and diagnostic applications.

Keywords: brain tissue; coupling density; elastography; inversion recovery; phantom; porosity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Brain / diagnostic imaging
  • Elasticity Imaging Techniques*
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy
  • Phantoms, Imaging