Value of liver iron concentration in healthy volunteers assessed by MRI

Marzanna Obrzut, Vitaliy Atamaniuk, Kevin J. Glaser, Jun Chen, Richard L. Ehman, Bogdan Obrzut, Marian Cholewa, Krzysztof Gutkowski

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2 Scopus citations


Iron overload is a relatively common clinical condition resulting from disorders such as hereditary hemochromatosis, thalassemia, sickle cell disease, and myelodysplasia that can lead to progressive fibrosis and eventually cirrhosis of the liver. Therefore, it is essential to recognize the disease process at the earliest stage. Liver biopsy is the reference test for the assessment of liver fibrosis. It also allows for quantifying liver iron concentration (LIC) in patients. However, this is an invasive method with significant limitations and possible risks. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and evaluation of the R2* relaxation rate can be an alternative to biopsy for assessing LIC. However, it causes a need for accurate R2* data corresponding to standard value for further comparison with examined patients. This study aimed to assess the normative values of liver R2* in healthy individuals. A total of 100 volunteers that met established criteria were enrolled in the study: 36 (36%) men and 64 (64%) women. The mean age was 22.9 years (range 20 to 32 years). R2* was estimated by an MRI exam with a 1.5 T clinical magnetic resonance scanner. Images for measuring the LIC and liver fat concentration were obtained using the IDEAL-IQ technique for liver imaging. The Mean (SD) liver R2* was 28.34 (2.25) s−1 (95% CI, 27.78–28.90, range 23.67–33.00 s−1) in females, 29.57 (3.20) s−1 (95% CI, 28.49–30.66, range 23.93–37.77 s−1) in males, and 28.72 (2.69) s−1 (range 23.67–37.77 s−1) in the whole group. R2* value in this particular population with a high proportion of young women did not exceed 38 s−1. In the absence of fibrosis or steatosis, liver stiffness and fat fraction did not show any relationship with R2*.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number17887
JournalScientific reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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