Monitoring of impaired phagocytic function of Kupffer cells in an obstructive cholangitis rat model using superparamagnetic iron oxide MRI and contrast-enhanced ultrasound

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Background: Kupffer cells (KC) have an important role in the host defense in obstructive cholangitis. Non-invasive monitoring of phagocytic function of KC is pivotal. Several studies showed the possibility of non-invasive monitoring of phagocytic function of KC using superparamagnetic iron oxide-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging (SPIO-MRI) or contrast-enhanced ultrasound (CEUS). Purpose: To investigate the serial change of KC function using SPIO-MRI and CEUS and whether the SPIO-MRI parameter correlates with the CEUS parameter in obstructive cholangitis rat models. Material and Methods: With our institutional Animal Care and Use Committee approval, 19 rats (common bile duct ligation [CBDL]: n = 9; control: n = 10) underwent SPIO-MRI and CEUS at baseline, two, and four weeks after CBDL. The relative signal loss (RSL) of T2* value on SPIO-MRI and Kupffer phase parenchymal echogenicity (KPE) on CEUS were measured. The correlation between SPIO-MRI and CEUS parameters were compared with KC count. Results: In CBDL group, RSL and KPE had significantly decreased (72.1% to 29.5%, 2.7 to 0.4) at four weeks compared with those in the control group (68.2% to 58.3%, 2.5 to 3.0, P < 0.05). During the follow-up period, RSL showed significantly positive correlations with KPE (P = 0.007). In addition, at four weeks, we found RSL was positively correlated with KPE (ρ = 0.750, P = 0.002). KC count was negatively correlated to RSL and KPE at four weeks (ρ = −0.771, P = 0.001 and ρ = −0.644, P = 0.013). Conclusion: SPIO-MRI and CEUS may be equally useful for monitoring the serial changes of KC phagocytic function in vivo.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)407-414
Number of pages8
JournalActa Radiologica
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2019


  • Contrast-enhanced ultrasound
  • Kupffer cells
  • animal study
  • obstructive cholangitis
  • superparamagnetic iron oxide-enhanced MRI

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