Metabolic Changes in Different Stages of Liver Fibrosis: In vivo Hyperpolarized 13C MR Spectroscopy and Metabolic Imaging

  • Chung-Man Moon
  • Sang-Soo ShinEmail author
  • Suk-Hee Heo
  • Hyo-Soon Lim
  • Myeong-Ju Moon
  • Suchithra Poilil Surendran
  • Ga-Eon Kim
  • Il-Woo Park
  • Yong-Yeon Jeong
Research Article



The objective was to assess metabolic changes in different stages of liver fibrosis using hyperpolarized C-13 magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) and metabolic imaging.


Mild and severe liver fibrosis were induced in C3H/HeN mice (n = 14) by injecting thioacetamide (TAA). Other C3H/HeN mice (n = 7) were injected with phosphate buffer saline (PBS) (7.4 pH) as normal controls. Hyperpolarized C-13 MRS was performed on the livers of the mice, which was accompanied by intravoxel incoherent motion (IVIM) diffusion-weighted imaging with 12 b values. The differential metabolite ratios, apparent diffusion coefficient values, and IVIM parameters among the three groups were analyzed by a one-way analysis of variance test.


The ratios of [1-13C]lactate/pyruvate, [1-13C]lactate/total carbon (tC), [1-13C]alanine/pyruvate, and [1-13C] alanine/tC were significantly higher in both the mild and severe fibrosis groups than in the normal control group (p < 0.05). While the [1-13C]lactate/pyruvate and [1-13C]lactate/tC ratios were not significantly different between mild and severe fibrosis groups, the ratios of [1-13C]alanine/pyruvate and [1-13C]alanine/tC were significantly higher in the severe fibrosis group than in the mild fibrosis group (p < 0.05). In addition, D* showed a significantly lower value in the severe fibrosis group than in the normal or mild fibrosis groups and negatively correlated with the levels of [1-13C] lactate and [1-13C]alanine.


Our findings suggest that it might be possible to differentiate mild from severe liver fibrosis using the cellular metabolic changes with hyperpolarized C-13 MRS and metabolic imaging.

Key words

Liver fibrosis Hyperpolarized 13C MRS Metabolic imaging 


Funding Information

This work was supported by the funds from the National Research Foundation of Korea (2017R1A6A3A11030092; 2018R1D1A3B07043473), the Chonnam National University Hospital Research Institute of Clinical Medicine (CRI18091-2) and the Central Medical Service Co., Ltd. (CRE17181-7).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© World Molecular Imaging Society 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Quantitative Medical Imaging SectionNational Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering, National Institutes of HealthBethesdaUSA
  2. 2.Department of RadiologyChonnam National University Hospital, Chonnam National University Medical SchoolGwangjuSouth Korea
  3. 3.Department of RadiologyChonnam National University Hwasun HospitalHwasunRepublic of Korea
  4. 4.Department of PathologyChonnam National University HospitalGwangjuRepublic of Korea

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