Objectives: To investigate the use of MR elastography (MRE)–derived mechanical properties (shear stiffness (|G*|) and loss modulus (G″)) and MRI-derived fat fraction (FF) to predict the nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) activity score (NAS) in a NAFLD mouse model. Methods: Eighty-nine male mice were studied, including 64 training and 25 independent testing animals. An MRI/MRE exam and histologic evaluation were performed. Pairwise, nonparametric comparisons and multivariate analyses were used to evaluate the relationships between the three imaging parameters (FF, |G*|, and G″) and histologic features. A virtual NAS score (vNAS) was generated by combining three imaging parameters with an ordinal logistic model (OLM) and a generalized linear model (GLM). The prediction accuracy was evaluated by ROC analyses. Results: The combination of FF, |G*|, and G″ predicted NAS > 1 with excellent accuracy in both training and testing sets (AUROC > 0.84). OLM and GLM predictive models misclassified 3/54 and 6/54 mice in the training, and 1/25 and 1/25 in the testing cohort respectively, in distinguishing between “not-NASH” and “definite-NASH.” “Borderline-NASH” prediction was poorer in the training set, and no borderline-NASH mice were available in the testing set. Conclusion: This preliminary study shows that multiparametric MRI/MRE can be used to accurately predict the NAS score in a NAFLD animal model, representing a promising alternative to liver biopsy for assessing NASH severity and treatment response. Key Points: • MRE-derived liver stiffness and loss modulus and MRI-assessed fat fraction can be used to predict NAFLD activity score (NAS) in our preclinical mouse model (AUROC > 0.84 for all NAS levels greater than 1). • The overall agreement between the histological-determined NASH diagnosis and the imaging-predicted NASH diagnosis is 80–92%. • The multiparametric hepatic MRI/MRE has great potential for noninvasively assessing liver disease severity and treatment efficacy.
- Magnetic resonance imaging
- Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease
- Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging