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Viscoelasticity measured by shear wave elastography in a rat model of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease: comparison with dynamic mechanical analysis

  • Pi, Zhaoke1
  • Wang, Mengke1
  • Lin, Haoming1
  • Guo, Yanrong1
  • Chen, Siping1
  • Diao, Xianfen1
  • Xia, Hui2
  • Liu, Guoqiang2
  • Zeng, Jie3
  • Zhang, Xinyu1
  • Chen, Xin1
  • 1 School of Biomedical Engineering, Health Science Center, Shenzhen University, National-Regional Key Technology Engineering Laboratory for Medical Ultrasound, Guangdong Key Laboratory for Biomedical Measurements and Ultrasound Imaging, Shenzhen, 518000, China , Shenzhen (China)
  • 2 Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, 100000, China , Beijing (China)
  • 3 Third Affiliated Hospital of Sun Yat-Sen University, Guangzhou, 510000, China , Guangzhou (China)
Published Article
BioMedical Engineering OnLine
Springer (Biomed Central Ltd.)
Publication Date
May 03, 2021
DOI: 10.1186/s12938-021-00879-3
Springer Nature


BackgroundNonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is rapidly becoming one of the most common liver diseases. Ultrasound elastography has been used for the diagnosis of NAFLD. However, clinical research on steatosis by elastography technology has mainly focused on steatosis with fibrosis or non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), while steatosis without fibrosis has been poorly studied. Moreover, the relationship between liver viscoelasticity and steatosis grade is not clear. In this study, we evaluated the degree of liver steatosis in a simple steatosis rat model using shear wave elastography (SWE).ResultsThe viscoelasticity values of 69 rats with hepatic steatosis were measured quantitatively by SWE in vivo and validated by a dynamic mechanical analysis (DMA) test. Pathological sections were used to determine the steatosis grade for each rat. The results showed that the elasticity values µ obtained by the two methods followed the same trend, and µ is significantly correlated with liver steatosis. The Pearson’s correlation coefficients indicate that μ\documentclass[12pt]{minimal} \usepackage{amsmath} \usepackage{wasysym} \usepackage{amsfonts} \usepackage{amssymb} \usepackage{amsbsy} \usepackage{mathrsfs} \usepackage{upgreek} \setlength{\oddsidemargin}{-69pt} \begin{document}$$\mu$$\end{document} obtained by SWE is positively linear correlated with DMA (r = 0.628, p = 7.85 × 10–9). However, the viscosity values η\documentclass[12pt]{minimal} \usepackage{amsmath} \usepackage{wasysym} \usepackage{amsfonts} \usepackage{amssymb} \usepackage{amsbsy} \usepackage{mathrsfs} \usepackage{upgreek} \setlength{\oddsidemargin}{-69pt} \begin{document}$$\eta$$\end{document} obtained by SWE were relatively independent of those obtained by DMA with a correlation coefficient of − 0.01. The combined Voigt elasticity measurements have high validity in the prediction of steatosis (S0 vs. S1–S4), with an AUROC of 0.755 (95% CI 0.6175–0.8925, p < 0.01) and the optimal cutoff value was 2.08 kPa with a sensitivity of 78% and specificity of 63%.ConclusionSWE might have the feasibility to be introduced as an auxiliary technique for NAFLD patients in clinical settings. However, the viscosity results measured by SWE and DMA are significantly different, because the two methods work in different frequency bands.

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