To evaluate the hepatocyte phase of Gd-EOB-DTPA-enhanced MRI in the early diagnosis of hepatic fibrosis and cirrhosis and assessment of liver function in a rat model.Main methods:
In 2 groups of SD rats, liver fibrosis was induced in experimental animals by repetitive carbon tetrachloride injections, while the control group received saline injections. Five experimental rats and 2 control rats were randomly selected at weeks 4, 8, 12. One week after carbon tetrachloride administration, MRI (FIRM T1WI) scan was performed. Gd-EOB-DTPA (0.08 mL) was injected into the rat's tail vein and hepatocyte phase images were obtained after 20 min. The pre-enhanced phase and hepatocyte phase signal intensities (SI) were measured, and the relative contrast enhancement index (RCEI) was calculated. ANOVA analysis (LSD) of RCEI values in controls (n = 6), hepatic fibrosis (n = 7), and histopathologically-determined early cirrhosis group (n = 6) was performed.Key findings:
RECI values showed a decreasing trend in the control group, hepatic fibrosis and early cirrhosis groups (1.11 ± 0.43, 0.96 ± 0.22, and 0.57 ± 0.33, respectively). While the difference between the control and early cirrhosis groups was statistically significant (p = 0.013), there was no significant difference in the hepatic fibrosis group vs the control (p = 0.416) and the hepatic fibrosis group vs the early cirrhosis group (p = 0.054).Significance:
Hepatocyte phase RCEI values obtained with Gd-EOB-DTPA-enhanced MRI scan indicate liver injury in hepatic fibrosis and early cirrhosis. RCEI values are helpful for early diagnosis of liver cirrhosis.