Tomoelastography for Longitudinal Monitoring of Viscoelasticity Changes in the Liver and in Renal Allografts after Direct-Acting Antiviral Treatment in 15 Kidney Transplant Recipients with Chronic HCV Infection

J Clin Med. 2021 Feb 1;10(3):510. doi: 10.3390/jcm10030510.


Besides the liver, hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection also affects kidney allografts. The aim of this study was to longitudinally evaluate viscoelasticity changes in the liver and in kidney allografts in kidney transplant recipients (KTRs) with HCV infection after treatment with direct-acting antiviral agents (DAAs). Fifteen KTRs with HCV infection were treated with DAAs (daclatasvir and sofosbuvir) for 3 months and monitored at baseline, end of treatment (EOT), and 3 (FU1) and 12 (FU2) months after EOT. Shear-wave speed (SWS) and loss angle of the complex shear modulus (φ), reflecting stiffness and fluidity, respectively, were reconstructed from multifrequency magnetic resonance elastography data with tomoelastography post-processing. After virus elimination by DAAs, hepatic stiffness and fluidity decreased, while kidney allograft stiffness and fluidity increased compared with baseline (hepatic stiffness change at FU1: -0.14 m/s, p < 0.01, and at FU2: -0.11 m/s, p < 0.05; fluidity at FU1: -0.05 rad, p = 0.04 and unchanged at FU2: p = 0.20; kidney allograft stiffness change at FU1: +0.27 m/s, p = 0.01, and at FU2: +0.30 m/s, p < 0.01; fluidity at FU1 and FU2: +0.06 rad, p = 0.02). These results suggest the restoration of mechanically sensitive structures and functions in both organs. Tomoelastography can be used to monitor the therapeutic results of HCV treatment non-invasively on the basis of hepatic and renal viscoelastic parameters.

Keywords: direct-acting antiviral agents; hepatitis C virus; kidney transplantation; liver fibrosis; magnetic resonance elastography; stiffness; tomoelastography.