Multiparametric Magnetic Resonance Imaging of the Kidneys: Effects of Regional, Side, and Hydration Variations on Functional Quantifications

Jie Chen, Zhen Zhang, Juan Liu, Chengjie Li, Meng Yin, Lisha Nie, Bin Song

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: To standardize renal functional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), it is important to understand the influence of side-to-side variation, regional variation within the organ, and hydration states in MRI and to search for variables that are not affected by those variations. Purpose: To assess MRI-based biomarkers for characterizing the kidney in healthy volunteers while considering variations in anatomic factors and hydration states. Study Type: Prospective. Subjects: Twenty-five healthy volunteers (15 females and 10 males, median age 25 years). Field Strength/Sequence: 3.0 T intravoxel incoherent motion diffusion-weighted imaging, arterial spinning labeling imaging, blood oxygenation level dependent imaging, and three-dimensional MR elastography. Assessment: Functional variables were measured before and after water challenge. Regions of interest were manually drawn by two investigators (JC and ZZ, with 8- and 5-year experiences in abdominal radiology) in the cortex, the medulla, and the entire kidney. The medulla/cortex ratio was calculated. Statistical Tests: Paired t-test or Wilcoxon signed rank test; interobserver correlation coefficient; repeatability coefficients; Spearman's correlation; significance level: P < 0.05. Results: Diffusion parameters were only subject to regional variation. R2*, RBF, and renal stiffness (RS) showed regional variation, side variation, and dependence on hydration states. For each side and hydration state, the cortex showed significantly higher standard apparent diffusion coefficient (sADC), higher true diffusion (D), lower R2*, and lower RS than the medulla. For each region at baseline, the left kidney showed significantly higher R2*, higher RS, and lower renal blood flow (RBF) than the right kidney. For each region and side, RS and RBF increased significantly while R2* decreased significantly after water intake. After introducing the intrinsic regional difference, significantly higher medulla/cortex ratio of RS remained after water intake except for RS@90 Hz in the right kidney. Data Conclusion: Renal multiparametric MRI quantifications were affected by regional variation, side variation, and hydration states. Level of Evidence: 2. Technical Efficacy: Stage 1.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1576-1586
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Magnetic Resonance Imaging
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2023


  • anatomic variation
  • arterial spinning labeling imaging
  • blood oxygenation level dependent imaging
  • hydration states
  • intravoxel incoherent motion diffusion-weighted imaging
  • kidney
  • magnetic resonance elastography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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