Using ultrasound Nakagami imaging to assess liver fibrosis in rats

Ming Chih Ho, Jen Jen Lin, Yu Chen Shu, Chiung Nien Chen, King Jen Chang, Chien Cheng Chang, Po Hsiang Tsui

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

65 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This study explored the feasibility of using the ultrasound Nakagami image to assess the degree of liver fibrosis in rats. The rat has been widely used as a model in investigations of liver fibrosis. Ultrasound grayscale imaging makes it possible to observe fibrotic rat livers in real time. Statistical analysis of the envelopes of signals backscattered from rat livers may provide useful clues about the degree of liver fibrosis. The Nakagami-model-based image has been shown to be useful for characterizing scatterers in tissues by reflecting the echo statistics, and hence the Nakagami image may serve as a functional imaging tool for quantifying rat liver fibrosis. To validate this idea, fibrosis was induced in each rat liver (n = 21) by an intraperitoneal injection of 0.5% dimethylnitrosamine. Livers were excised from rats for in vitro ultrasound scanning using a single-element transducer. The backscattered-signal envelopes of the acquired raw ultrasound signals were used for Nakagami imaging. The Metavir score determined by a pathologist was used to histologically quantify the degree of liver fibrosis. It was found that the Nakagami image could be used to distinguish different degrees of liver fibrosis in rats, since the average Nakagami parameter increased from 0.55 to 0.83 as the fibrosis score increased from 0 (i.e., normal) to 4. This correlation may be due to liver fibrosis in rats involving an increase in the concentration of local scatterers and the appearance of the periodic structures or clustering of scatterers that would change the backscattering statistics. The current findings indicate that the ultrasound Nakagami image has great potential as a functional imaging tool to complement the use of the conventional B-scan in animal studies of liver fibrosis. Crown

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)215-222
Number of pages8
JournalUltrasonics
Volume52
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2012 Feb

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics

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