Spatial heterogeneity of hepatic fibrosis in primary sclerosing cholangitis vs. viral hepatitis assessed by MR elastography

Sci Rep. 2021 May 10;11(1):9820. doi: 10.1038/s41598-021-89372-4.


Spatial heterogeneity of hepatic fibrosis in primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC) in comparison to viral hepatitis was assessed as a potential new biomarker using MR elastography (MRE). In this proof-of-concept study, we hypothesized a rather increased heterogeneity in PSC and a rather homogeneous distribution in viral hepatitis. Forty-six consecutive subjects (PSC: n = 20, viral hepatitis: n = 26) were prospectively enrolled between July 2014 and April 2017. Subjects underwent multifrequency MRE (1.5 T) using drive frequencies of 35-60 Hz and generating shear-wave speed (SWS in m/s) maps as a surrogate of stiffness. The coefficient of variation (CV in %) was determined to quantify fibrosis heterogeneity. Mean SWS and CV were 1.70 m/s and 21% for PSC, and 1.84 m/s and 18% for viral hepatitis. Fibrosis heterogeneity was significantly increased for PSC (P = 0.04) while no difference was found for SWS of PSC and viral hepatitis (P = 0.17). Global hepatic stiffness was similar in PSC and viral hepatitis groups, but spatial heterogeneity may reveal spatial patterns of stiffness changes towards enhanced biophysics-based diagnosis by MRI.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Observational Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cholangitis, Sclerosing / pathology*
  • Elasticity Imaging Techniques / methods*
  • Female
  • Hepatitis, Viral, Human / pathology*
  • Humans
  • Liver / diagnostic imaging
  • Liver / pathology
  • Liver Cirrhosis / diagnosis*
  • Liver Cirrhosis / pathology
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies