The Research Roundup provides an overview of the past week’s research from Mayo Clinic Laboratories consultants, including featured abstracts and a complete list of published studies and reviews.
The lack of reliable, noninvasive methods to diagnose early nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) is a major unmet need. Mayo Clinic researchers aimed to determine the diagnostic accuracy of 3D-MRE, with shear stiffness measured at 60 Hz, damping ratio at 40 Hz, and MRI proton density fat fraction (MRI-PDFF) in the detection of NASH in individuals undergoing bariatric surgery. Obese adults at risk for NASH were enrolled between 2015–2017 and 2010–2013. The imaging protocol consisted of multifrequency 3D-MRE (mf3D-MRE) with shear waves delivered at different frequencies to explore parameters that best correlated with histologic NASH; and MRI-PDFF to estimate steatosis. The prospective cohort was used to establish the optimal mf3D-MRE technical parameters for NASH detection. The 2 cohorts were then combined to derive predictive models of NASH and disease activity by NAFLD activity score (NAS) using the 3 imaging parameters that correlated with NASH. From the complex shear modulus output generated by mf3D-MRE, the damping ratio at 40 Hz and shear stiffness at 60 Hz best correlated with NASH. The fat fraction obtained from MRI-PDFF correlated with steatosis. Multifrequency 3D-MRE allows identification of novel imaging parameters that predict early NASH and disease activity. This imaging biomarker represents a promising alternative to liver biopsy for NASH diagnosis and monitoring. The study was published in Hepatology.