European Radiology

, Volume 17, Issue 12, pp 3025–3030 | Cite as

Liver, bone marrow, pancreas and pituitary gland iron overload in young and adult thalassemic patients: a T2 relaxometry study

  • Maria I. Argyropoulou
  • Dimitrios N. Kiortsis
  • Loukas Astrakas
  • Zafiria Metafratzi
  • Nikolaos Chalissos
  • Stavros C. Efremidis
Magnetic Resonance


Thirty-seven patients with β-thalassemia major, including 14 adolescents (15.2 ± 3.0 years) and 23 adults (26.4 ± 6.9 years), were studied. T2 relaxation time (T2) of the liver, bone marrow, pancreas and pituitary gland was measured in a 1.5-Tesla magnetic resonance (MR) imager, using a multiecho spin-echo sequence (TR/TE 2,000/20, 40, 60, 80, 100, 120, 140, 160 ms). Pituitary gland height was evaluated in a midline sagittal scan of a spin-echo sequence (TR/TE, 500/20 ms). The T2 of the pituitary gland was higher in adolescents (59.4 ± 15 ms) than in adults (45.3 ± 10.4 ms), P < 0.05. The T2 of the pancreas was lower in adolescents (43.6 ± 10.3 ms) than in adults (54.4 ± 10.4 ms). No difference among groups was found in the T2 of the liver and bone marrow. There was no significant correlation of the T2 among the liver, pancreas, pituitary gland and bone marrow. There was no significant correlation between serum ferritin and T2 of the liver, pancreas and bone marrow. Pituitary T2 showed a significant correlation with pituitary gland height (adolescents: R = 0.63, adults: R = 0.62, P < 0.05) and serum ferritin (adolescents: R = −0.60, adults: R = −0.50, P < 0.05). In conclusion, iron overload evaluated by T2 is organ specific. After adolescence, age-related T2 changes are predominantly associated with pituitary siderosis and fatty degeneration of the pancreas. Pituitary size decreases with progressing siderosis.


β-Thalassemia major Reticuloendothelial system Pancreas Pituitary T2 relaxometry 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Maria I. Argyropoulou
    • 1
  • Dimitrios N. Kiortsis
    • 2
  • Loukas Astrakas
    • 1
  • Zafiria Metafratzi
    • 1
  • Nikolaos Chalissos
    • 1
    • 2
  • Stavros C. Efremidis
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Radiology, Medical SchoolUniversity of IoanninaIoanninaGreece
  2. 2.Laboratory of Physiology, Medical SchoolUniversity of IoanninaIoanninaGreece

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