Accuracy of cardiac magnetic resonance T1 mapping for detecting diffuse myocardial fibrosis: comprehensive comparison with the pathology in diabetic rabbits
Mu Zeng1, Nan Zhang1, Yi He1, Jing An2, Andreas Greiser3, and Zhanming Fan1

1Radiology, Beijing Anzhen Hospital,Capital medical university, Beijing, China, People's Republic of, 2MR Collaborations NE Asia, Siemens Healthcare, Beijing, China, Beijing, China, People's Republic of, 3Siemens AG Healthcare Sector MR, Erlangen, Germany


In recent years, use of the MRI T1 mapping technique to detect diffuse myocardial fibrosis has received increasing attention. Although previous studies have verified the relationship between T1 mapping and pathological findings, our study is the first to show continuity during the observation of a single disease while avoiding interference caused by other diseases. In addition, the pathology can be fully verified in real time using animal experiments.

The main findings of this study were that (1) the ECV obtained from the MRI T1 mapping sequence was highly correlated with the CVF in terms of the degree of histologically diffuse interstitial fibrosis; (2) the correlation between the native T1 value and the CVF change was not strong; and (3) the rabbit is a suitable model for cardiac magnetic resonance research using clinical equipment.


The technology of cardiac magnetic resonance (CMR) T1 mapping can noninvasively detect diffuse myocardial fibrosis. However, the accuracy of the native T1 value, the post-contrast T1 value, and the extracellular volume fraction (ECV) in detecting fibrosis remains controversial in current studies. Our aim was to pathologically verify the accuracy of the native T1 value, the post-contrast T1 value and the ECV in the detection of diffuse myocardial fibrosis. Another purpose of this study was to test whether rabbits can be used to perform cardiac imaging in clinical 3T magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) equipment.


Thirty New Zealand white rabbits were randomly divided into either a control group (n = 6) or a diabetes mellitus (DM) group (induced with alloxan, n = 24) and underwent clinical 3.0 T (Magnetom Verio; Siemens Healthcare Sector) with pre- and post-contrast MOLLI T1 mapping after three, six, and nine months. For the histological study, six diabetic rabbits were sacrificed at three, six, and nine months, and left ventricular myocardium Masson staining was performed to calculate the collagen volume fraction (CVF). Pre- and post-contrast T1 values and the ECV were compared to the CVF using Pearson’s correlation coefficients.


The pre- and post-contrast T1 values and the ECV were successfully obtained in all rabbits. The ECV calculated from pre- and post-contrast T1 values showed an excellent correlation (r=0.876, p<0.001) with the CVF, while post-contrast T1 values exhibited a moderate correlation (r= −0.564, p=0.004) with the CVF. In contrast, pre-contrast T1 values showed no correlation (r=0.311, p=0.139) with the CVF.


ECV has an excellent correlation with the pathological collagen volume fraction (CVF) and may reflect the degree of diffuse myocardial fibrosis as a non-invasive method, whose performance is better than the post-contrast T1 value. The pre-contrast T1 value does not reflect the degree of diffuse myocardial fibrosis well. Rabbit is a good animal model for clinical 3T MR cardiac imaging.


No acknowledgement found.


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Miller CA, Naish JH, Bishop P, Coutts G, Clark D, Zhao S, et al. Comprehensive validation of cardiovascular magnetic resonance techniques for the assessment of myocardial extracellular volume. Circ Cardiovasc Imaging. 2013;6:373-83.

Fontana M, White SK, Banypersad SM, Sado DM, Maestrini V, Flett AS, et al. Comparison of T1 mapping techniques for ECV quantification. Histological validation and reproducibility of ShMOLLI versus multibreath-hold T1 quantification equilibrium contrast CMR. J Cardiovasc Magn Reson. 2012;14:88.$$$$$$$$$$$


Figure 1. Example of T1 maps in a typical rabbit in the DM group. A: Pre-contrast T1 map. B: At 15 min after contrast injection, a post-contrast T1 map was obtained at the same level. The ECV calculated from the pre- and post-contrast T1 maps was 35.9%.

Figure 2. Histological analysis of myocardial alterations. HE: With an increasing duration of diabetes, heart sections showed edema, histiocyte proliferation, vacuolization in the cytoplasm, hemorrhage, and infiltration of inflammatory cells. Masson: With an increasing duration of diabetes, diffuse interstitial fibrosis became increasingly serious.

Figure 3. Correlations between histological myocardial fibrosis and CMR quantification of T1 mapping. A: Correlation between pre and post contrast myocardial T1 times and CVF. B: Correlation between ECV and CVF.

Proc. Intl. Soc. Mag. Reson. Med. 24 (2016)