To evaluate the utility of noninvasive assessment of human nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) patients using superparamagnetic iron oxide (SPIO)-enhanced MRI.Materials and Methods:
Nineteen NAFLD patients underwent SPIO-enhanced MRI. The values of τ, a time constant for an exponential approximation, were calculated using gradient-echo echo-planar imaging, and the values of %T2, a marker of the T2 relaxation effect of SPIO, were calculated using T2-weighted fast spin-echo images. Correlations between these values and the histological NAFLD activity scores were evaluated. The study protocol was approved by our Institutional Review Board and all patients gave informed consent.Results:
There was a statistically significant relationship between the NAFLD activity scores and the τ values (r = 0.66, P = 0.002). The %T2 values were also significantly correlated with the NAFLD activity score (r = −0.58, P = 0.009). A cutoff τ value of 42.8 predicted “definitive NASH” (NAFLD activity score ≥5) with a specificity of 66.7% and a sensitivity of 99.9%, whereas a cutoff %T2 value of 32.5 predicted “definitive NASH” with a specificity of 72.7% and a sensitivity of 87.5%.Conclusion:
Noninvasive SPIO-enhanced MRI may be helpful for identifying NASH patients among patients suspected of having NAFLD. J. Magn. Reson. Imaging 2008;28:1444–1450. © 2008 Wiley-Liss, Inc.