Article Abstract

T1 characteristics of interstitial pulmonary fibrosis on 3T MRI—a predictor of early interstitial change?

Authors: Saeed Mirsadraee, Matthew Tse, Lucy Kershaw, Scott Semple, Nicola Schembri, Calvin Chin, John T. Murchison, Nik Hirani, Edwin J. R. van Beek

Abstract

Background: Computed tomography (CT) is routinely used for diagnosis and characterisation of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF). The technique however has limited sensitivity in detection and monitoring of early fibrotic changes. The aim of this study was to evaluate T1 characteristics in the radiologically diseased lung parenchyma in IPF patient compared to apparently normal parenchyma in both interstitial lung disease (ILD) patients and healthy volunteers and to investigate the feasibility of the technique in prediction of early fibrotic lung changes that may not be visible on CT.
Methods: Ten patients with IPF underwent high resolution computed tomography (HRCT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) on the same day of attendance. 3T MRI was repeated in seven patients with IPF to test the reproducibility of results. The control group included healthy volunteers (n=10). A modified look-locker inversion-recovery (MOLLI) sequence (124×192 acquisition matrix; 8 mm slice) was performed during a 15–20 s breathhold in a single slice. The position of MR slice was pre-selected where there was CT evidence of normal and fibrotic lung. MOLLI imaging was performed prior to the contrast administration, and at 15, 25, 30 and 35 min post Gadolinium. The imaging data were then processed with a curve-fitting technique to estimate T1 values. T1 values of the apparent fibrotic and normal lung in IPF patients and normal lung were compared.
Results: Fibrotic lung had a higher pre-contrast T1 than either morphologically normal lung in ILD patients or control lung (P=0.02) in healthy volunteers (1309±123, 1069±71, and 1011±172 ms, respectively). Morphologically normal lung T1 and control lung T1 were not significantly different pre-contrast, however, at 10 min after administration of Gadolinium, control lung had a significantly shorter T1 than either fibrotic or morphologically normal lung (494±34, 670±63, and 619±41 ms, respectively; P=0.001). T1 for fibrotic lung continued to decrease until 20 min after contrast agent administration (P≤0.0001), whereas morphologically normal lung T1 did not significantly change after 10 min (P>0.3). This indicates delayed uptake of contrast agent in the fibrotic lung compared with morphologically normal lung.
Conclusions: T1 mapping of patients with IPF at 3T is feasible and demonstrates a significant difference between fibrotic lung tissue and morphologically normal lung tissue both before Gadolinium administration and at 10 min delayed post-contrast images. The technique is able to evaluate early fibrosis in patients with apparently morphologically normal lung.