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Initial clinical application of modified Dixon with flexible echo times: hepatic and pancreatic fat assessments in comparison with 1H MRS

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Hepatic and pancreatic fat content become increasingly important for phenotyping of individuals with metabolic diseases. This study aimed to (1) evaluate hepatic fat fractions (HFF) and pancreatic fat fractions (PFF) using 1H magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) and the recently introduced fast mDixon method, and to examine body fat effects on HFF and PFF, (2) investigate regional differences in HFF and PFF by mDixon.

Materials and methods

HFF and PFF were quantified by mDixon with two flexible echo times and by single voxel 1H MRS in 24 healthy subjects. The regional differences of PFF within the pancreas were assessed with mDixon. Abdominal visceral and subcutaneous fat was assessed by T1-weighted MRI at 3T.


Both methods correlated well for quantification of HFF (r = 0.98, p < 0.0001) and PFF (r = 0.80, p < 0.0001). However, mDixon showed a higher low limit in HFF and PFF. PFF showed no regional differences using mDixon. In addition, both visceral and subcutaneous fat correlated with pancreatic fat, while only visceral fat correlated with liver fat, employing both 1H MRS and mDixon.


The novel and fast two-point mDixon exhibits a good correlation with the gold-standard 1H MRS for assessment of HFF and PFF, with limited sensitivity for assessing lower fat content.

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The authors are grateful to the Ministry of Innovation, Science and Research (MIWFT) of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia for the installation of a 3-T whole body MR scanner at the German Diabetes Center (M. Roden). This work was supported in part by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) to the German Center for Diabetes Research (DZD e.V.).

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Correspondence to Jong-Hee Hwang.

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Livingstone, R.S., Begovatz, P., Kahl, S. et al. Initial clinical application of modified Dixon with flexible echo times: hepatic and pancreatic fat assessments in comparison with 1H MRS. Magn Reson Mater Phy 27, 397–405 (2014).

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