Combined quantification of fatty infiltration, T1-relaxation times and T2*-relaxation times in normal-appearing skeletal muscle of controls and dystrophic patients
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To evaluate the combination of a fat–water separation method with an automated segmentation algorithm to quantify the intermuscular fatty-infiltrated fraction, the relaxation times, and the microscopic fatty infiltration in the normal-appearing muscle.
Materials and methods
MR acquisitions were performed at 1.5T in seven patients with facio-scapulo-humeral dystrophy and eight controls. Disease severity was assessed using commonly used scales for the upper and lower limbs. The fat–water separation method provided proton density fat fraction (PDFF) and relaxation times maps (T2* and T1). The segmentation algorithm distinguished adipose tissue and normal-appearing muscle from the T2* map and combined active contours, a clustering analysis, and a morphological closing process to calculate the index of fatty infiltration (IFI) in the muscle compartment defined as the relative amount of pixels with the ratio between the number of pixels within IMAT and the total number of pixels (IMAT + normal appearing muscle).
In patients, relaxation times were longer and a larger fatty infiltration has been quantified in the normal-appearing muscle. T2* and PDFF distributions were broader. The relaxation times were correlated to the Vignos scale whereas the microscopic fatty infiltration was linked to the Medwin-Gardner-Walton scale. The IFI was linked to a composite clinical severity scale gathering the whole set of scales.
The MRI indices quantified within the normal-appearing muscle could be considered as potential biomarkers of dystrophies and quantitatively illustrate tissue alterations such as inflammation and fatty infiltration.
KeywordsMagnetic resonance imaging Segmentation Muscle dystrophies
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