Biexponential analysis of diffusion-tensor imaging of the brain in patients with cirrhosis before and after liver transplantation

L. Chavarria, J. Alonso, R. García-Martínez, F. X. Aymerich, E. Huerga, C. Jacas, V. Vargas, J. Cordoba, Alex Rovira

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27 Citations (Scopus)


BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: DTI has shown increased MD of water molecules in the brain of patients with cirrhosis, consistent with low-grade edema. This study further characterizes this edema by using biexponential analysis of DTI data, a technique that may differentiate cytotoxic and vasogenic edema. MATERIALS AND METHODS: A total of 41 patients with cirrhosis awaiting liver transplantation and 16 healthy controls were studied by DTI by using a single-shot echo-planar technique with 11 b-values (range, 0-7500 s/mm 2) and 6 noncollinear directions. Measurements were fitted to biexponential function to determine MD and FA for the fast and slow diffusion components. Regions of interest were selected in the parietal white matter and corticospinal tract. The assessment was repeated 1 year after liver transplantation in 24 of these patients. RESULTS: In parietal white matter, patients with cirrhosis showed an increase in fast MD and a decrease in fast FA that normalized after liver transplantation. In the corticospinal tract, there was an increase in fast and slow MD that normalized after transplantation, and a decrease in FA that persisted posttransplantation. There was no association of DTI parameters with minimal HE (n = 12). CONCLUSIONS: Biexponential analysis of DTI supports the presence of edema in the brain of patients with cirrhosis that reverts after transplantation. In parietal white matter, the increase in brain water was mainly located in the interstitial compartment, while the corticospinal tract showed a mixed pattern (intra- and extracellular). In addition, the findings on posttransplantation were consistent with microstructural damage along the corticospinal tract.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1510-1517
JournalAmerican Journal of Neuroradiology
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2011


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