European Radiology

, Volume 25, Issue 2, pp 359–367 | Cite as

Pancreatic duct abnormalities in focal autoimmune pancreatitis: MR/MRCP imaging findings

  • Riccardo NegrelliEmail author
  • Riccardo Manfredi
  • Beatrice Pedrinolla
  • Enrico Boninsegna
  • Anna Ventriglia
  • Sara Mehrabi
  • Luca Frulloni
  • Roberto Pozzi Mucelli



To evaluate the magnetic resonance (MR) imaging-MR cholangiopancreatographic (MRCP) findings of focal forms of autoimmune pancreatitis (AIP) to describe ductal involvement at diagnosis.


MR examinations of 123 patients affected by AIP were analysed. We included 26 patients who satisfied International Consensus Diagnostic Criteria and were suffering from focal AIP. Image analysis included: site of parenchymal enlargement, main pancreatic duct (MPD) diameter, MPD stenosis, stricture length, presence of upstream dilation within the stricture, signal intensity, and pancreatic enhancement.


Signal intensity abnormalities were localized in the head in 10/26 (38.5 %) and in the body-tail in 16/26 (61.5 %) patients. MRCP showed a single MPD stenosis in 12/26 (46.1 %) and multiple MPD stenosis in 14/26 (53.8 %) patients, without a dilation of the upstream MPD (mean: 3.83 mm). Lesions showed hypointensity on T1-weighted images in all patients, and hyperintensity on T2-weighted images in 22/26 (84.6 %) patients. The affected parenchyma was hypovascular during the arterial phase in 25/26 (96.2 %) patients with contrast retention.


MR-MRCP are effective techniques for the diagnosis of AIP showing the loss of the physiological lobulation and the typical contrastographic appearance. The presence of multiple, long stenoses without an upstream MPD dilation at MRCP suggests the diagnosis of AIP, and can be useful in differential diagnosis of pancreatic adenocarcinoma.

Key Points

MRI represents the gold standard in the diagnosis of AIP.

MRCP is an increasingly useful technique in the diagnosis of focal AIP.

MRCP could be a problem-solving tool in the differential diagnosis of AIP.


Autoimmune pancreatitis Magnetic resonance imaging MRCP Pancreas Main pancreatic duct 



The scientific guarantor of this publication is Roberto Pozzi Mucelli. The authors of this manuscript declare no relationships with any companies whose products or services may be related to the subject matter of the article. The authors state that this work has not received any funding. We consulted a colleague with significant statistical expertise. Institutional Review Board approval was obtained. Written informed consent was waived by the Institutional Review Board. Methodology: retrospective, observational, performed at one institution.


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Copyright information

© European Society of Radiology 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Riccardo Negrelli
    • 1
    Email author
  • Riccardo Manfredi
    • 1
  • Beatrice Pedrinolla
    • 1
  • Enrico Boninsegna
    • 1
  • Anna Ventriglia
    • 1
  • Sara Mehrabi
    • 1
  • Luca Frulloni
    • 2
  • Roberto Pozzi Mucelli
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of RadiologyG.B. Rossi University Hospital, University of VeronaVeronaItaly
  2. 2.Department of Gastroenterology, Policlinico G.B. RossiUniversità di VeronaVeronaItaly

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