Lung morphometry using hyperpolarized (129) Xe apparent diffusion coefficient anisotropy in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
Magnetic Resonance in Medicine
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PURPOSE: The goal of this work was to investigate lung morphological changes associated with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) using hyperpolarized (129) Xe diffusion-weighted MRI.
METHODS: Hyperpolarized (129) Xe MRI was performed at three different nonzero diffusion sensitizations (b-value = 12, 20, and 30 s/cm(2) ) in the lungs of four subjects with COPD and four healthy volunteers. The image signal intensities were fit as a function of b-value to obtain anisotropic diffusion coefficient maps for all subjects. The image signal intensities were also fit to a morphological model allowing extraction of length scales associated with the terminal airways: external radius (R), internal radius (r), mean airspace chord length (Lm ), and depth of alveolar sleeve (h).
RESULTS: Longitudinal (DL ) and transverse (DT ) anisotropic diffusion coefficients were both significantly increased (both P= 0.004) in the COPD subjects (0.102 ± 0.02 cm(2) /s and 0.072 ± 0.02 cm(2) /s, respectively) compared with the healthy subjects (0.083 ± 0.011 cm(2) /s and 0.046 ± 0.017 cm(2) /s, respectively). Significant morphological differences were observed between the COPD subjects and healthy volunteers, specifically decreases in h (68 ± 36 µm vs. 95 ± 710 µm, respectively, P = 0.019) and increases in Lm (352 ± 57 µm vs. 253 ± 37 µm, respectively, P = 0.002) consistent with values obtained previously using hyperpolarized (3) He MRI in similar subjects.
CONCLUSIONS: Diffusion-weighted hyperpolarized (129) Xe MRI is a promising technique for mapping changes in human lung morphology and may be useful for early detection of emphysema associated with COPD.
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