Myopathies often display a common set of complex pathologies that include muscle weakness, inflammation, compromised membrane integrity, fat deposition, and fibrosis. Multi-parametric, quantitative, non-invasive imaging approaches may be able to resolve these individual pathological components. The goal of this study was to use multi-parametric MRI to investigate inflammation as an isolated pathological feature. Proton relaxation, diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), quantitative magnetization transfer (qMT-MRI), and dynamic contrast enhanced (DCE-MRI) parameters were calculated from data acquired in a single imaging session conducted 6-8 hours following the injection of λ-carrageenan, a local inflammatory agent. T2 increased in the inflamed muscle and transitioned to bi-exponential behavior. In diffusion measurements, all three eigenvalues and the apparent diffusion coefficient increased, but λ3 had the largest relative change. Analysis of the qMT data revealed that the T1 of the free pool and the observed T1 both increased in the inflamed tissue, while the ratio of exchanging spins in the solid pool to those in the free water pool (the pool size ratio) significantly decreased. DCE-MRI data also supported observations of an increase in extracellular volume. These findings enriched the understanding of the relation between multiple quantitative MRI parameters and an isolated inflammatory pathology, and may potentially be employed for other single or complex myopathy models.
Copyright © 2014 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.