MR elastography of human lung parenchyma: Technical development, theoretical modeling and in vivo validation

Yogesh K. Mariappan, Kevin J. Glaser, Rolf D. Hubmayr, Armando Manduca, Richard L. Ehman, Kiaran P. McGee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


Purpose: To develop a novel MR-based method for visualizing the elastic properties of human lung parenchyma in vivo and to evaluate the ability of this method to resolve differences in parenchymal stiffness at different respiration states in healthy volunteers. Materials and Methods: A spin-echo MR Elastography (MRE) pulse sequence was developed to provide both high shear wave motion sensitivity and short TE for improved visualization of lung parenchyma. The improved motion sensitivity of this approach was modeled and tested with phantom experiments. In vivo testing was then performed on 10 healthy volunteers at the respiratory states of residual volume (RV) and total lung capacity (TLC). Results: Shear wave propagation was visualized within the lungs of all volunteers and was processed to provide parenchymal shear stiffness maps for all 10 subjects. Density corrected stiffness values at TLC (1.83 ± 0.22 kPa) were higher than those at the RV (1.14 ± 0.14 kPa) with the difference being statistically significant (P < 0.0001). Conclusion: 1H-based MR elastography can noninvasively measure the shear stiffness of human lung parenchyma in vivo and can quantitate the change in shear stiffness due to respiration. The values obtained were consistent with previously reported in vitro assessments of cadaver lungs. Further work is required to increase the flexibility of the current acquisition and to investigate the clinical potential of lung MRE.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1351-1361
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Magnetic Resonance Imaging
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2011


  • MR elastography
  • lung elastography
  • lung stiffness
  • mechanical properties
  • shear stiffness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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