Muscle-fat MRI: 1.5 Tesla and 3.0 Tesla versus histology

Andrew C. Smith, Todd B. Parrish, Rebecca Abbott, Mark A. Hoggarth, Karl Mendoza, Yu Fen Chen, James M. Elliott*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

79 Scopus citations


Introduction: We evaluated muscle/fat fraction (MFF) accuracy and reliability measured with an MR imaging technique at 1.5 Tesla (T) and 3.0T scanner strengths, using biopsy as reference. Methods: MRI was performed on muscle samples from pig and rabbit species (n=8) at 1.5T and 3.0T. A chemical shift based 2-point Dixon method was used, collecting in-phase and out-of-phase data for fat/water of muscle samples. Values were compared with MFFs calculated from histology. Results: No significant difference was found between 1.5T and 3.0T (P values=0.41-0.96), or between histology and imaging (P=0.83) for any muscle tested. Conclusions: Results suggest that a 2-point Dixon fat/water separation MRI technique may provide reliable quantification of MFFs at varying field strengths across different animal species, and consistency was established with biopsy. The results set a foundation for larger scale investigation of quantifying muscle fat in neuromuscular disorders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)170-176
Number of pages7
JournalMuscle and Nerve
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 2014


  • Fat
  • MRI
  • Muscle
  • Muscle fat infiltrates
  • Muscle imaging
  • Muscle/fat fraction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Physiology (medical)
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Physiology


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