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Liver fat content determined by magnetic resonance imaging and spectroscopy.

by Fabian Springer, Jürgen Machann, Claus D Claussen, Fritz Schick, Nina F Schwenzer
World J Gastroenterol ()


Hepatic steatosis as the most prevalent liver disorder can either\nbe related to alcoholic liver disease (ALD) or non-alcoholic fatty\nliver disease (NAFLD). In both conditions, hepatocytes excessively\naccumulate fat-containing vacuoles within their cytoplasm, which\nis the key histological feature. In contrast to ALD, NAFLD is commonly\nassociated with metabolic syndrome, obesity and insulin resistance.\nTo determine increased liver fat content, liver biopsy is currently\nconsidered the gold standard. Besides the invasive technique, various\nother non-invasive techniques have been developed, such as ultrasound,\ncomputed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) and\nmagnetic resonance imaging (MRI) based methods. Among these techniques,\nultrasound and CT provide only qualitative information about hepatic\nsteatosis, whereas MRS- or MRI-based methods are able to determine\neven small amounts of fat accurately. These non-invasive magnetic\nresonance techniques have already proven their great potential, especially\nin longitudinal and cross-sectional studies regarding various metabolic\nconditions and medical treatment regimens. In this review, the most\ncommon, non-invasive MRS/MRI techniques for assessment of intrahepatic\nlipid content are described with their inherent advantages and limitations.

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