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Evaluation of the changes in hepatic apparent diffusion coefficient and hepatic fat fraction in healthy cats during body weight gain

Gian-Luca Steger DVM1, Elena Salesov Dr Med Vet2, Henning Richter Dr Med Vet, PhD1, Claudia E. Reusch Dr Med Vet2, Patrick R. Kircher Dr Med Vet, PhD1, and Francesca Del Chicca Dr Med Vet, PhD1
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  • 1 1Clinic for Diagnostic Imaging, Vetsuisse Faculty, University of Zurich, 8057 Zurich, Switzerland.
  • | 2 2Clinic of Small Animal Internal Medicine, Vetsuisse Faculty, University of Zurich, 8057 Zurich, Switzerland.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE

To determine the change in mean hepatic apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) and hepatic fat fraction (HFF) during body weight gain in cats by use of MRI.

ANIMALS

12 purpose-bred adult neutered male cats.

PROCEDURES

The cats underwent general health and MRI examination at time 0 (before dietary intervention) and time 1 (after 40 weeks of being fed high-energy food ad libitum). Sequences included multiple-echo gradient-recalled echo MRI and diffusion-weighted MRI with 3 b values (0, 400, and 800 s/mm2). Variables (body weight and the HFF and ADC in selected regions of interest in the liver parenchyma) were compared between time points by Wilcoxon paired-sample tests. Relationships among variables were assessed with generalized mixed-effects models.

RESULTS

Median body weight was 4.5 and 6.5 kg, mean ± SD HFF was 3.39 ± 0.89% and 5.37 ± 1.92%, and mean ± SD hepatic ADC was 1.21 ± 0.08 × 10−3 mm2/s and 1.01 ± 0.2 × 10−3 mm2/s at times 0 and 1, respectively. Significant differences between time points were found for body weight, HFF, and ADC. The HFF was positively associated with body weight and ADC was negatively associated with HFF.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE

Similar to findings in people, cats had decreasing hepatic ADC as HFF increased. Protons associated with fat tissue in the liver may reduce diffusivity, resulting in a lower ADC than in liver with lower HFF. Longer studies and evaluation of cats with different nutritional states are necessary to further investigate these findings.

Contributor Notes

Address correspondence to Dr. Del Chicca (fdelchicca@vetclinics.uzh.ch).