MR elastography of the abdomen: Basic concepts

Suraj D. Serai, Meng Yin

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Scopus citations


Magnetic resonance elastography (MRE) is an emerging imaging modality that maps the elastic properties of tissue such as the shear modulus. It allows for noninvasive assessment of stiffness, which is a surrogate for fibrosis. MRE has been shown to accurately distinguish absent or low stage fibrosis from high stage fibrosis, primarily in the liver. Like other elasticity imaging modalities, it follows the general steps of elastography: (1) apply a known cyclic mechanical vibration to the tissue; (2) measure the internal tissue displacements caused by the mechanical wave using magnetic resonance phase encoding method; and (3) infer the mechanical properties from the measured mechanical response (displacement), by generating a simplified displacement map. The generated map is called an elastogram. While the key interest of MRE has traditionally been in its application to liver, where in humans it is FDA approved and commercially available for clinical use to noninvasively assess degree of fibrosis, this is an area of active research and there are novel upcoming applications in brain, kidney, pancreas, spleen, heart, lungs, and so on. A detailed review of all the efforts is beyond the scope of this chapter, but a few specific examples are provided. Recent application of MRE for noninvasive evaluation of renal fibrosis has great potential for noninvasive assessment in patients with chronic kidney diseases. Development and applications of MRE in preclinical models is necessary primarily to validate the measurement against “gold-standard” invasive methods, to better understand physiology and pathophysiology, and to evaluate novel interventions. Application of MRE acquisitions in preclinical settings involves challenges in terms of available hardware, logistics, and data acquisition. This chapter will introduce the concepts of MRE and provide some illustrative applications. This publication is based upon work from the COST Action PARENCHIMA, a community-driven network funded by the European Cooperation in Science and Technology (COST) program of the European Union, which aims to improve the reproducibility and standardization of renal MRI biomarkers. This introduction chapter is complemented by another separate chapter describing the experimental protocol and data analysis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationMethods in Molecular Biology
PublisherHumana Press Inc.
Number of pages23
StatePublished - 2021

Publication series

NameMethods in Molecular Biology
ISSN (Print)1064-3745
ISSN (Electronic)1940-6029


  • Fibrosis
  • Kidney
  • MRI
  • Magnetic resonance elastography (MRE)
  • Preclinical imaging
  • Stiffness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics


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