Measuring cardiomyocyte cellular characteristics in cardiac hypertrophy using diffusion-weighted MRI.
Farzi M., Coveney S., Afzali M., Zdora M-C., Lygate CA., Rau C., Frangi AF., Dall'Armellina E., Teh I., Schneider JE.
PURPOSE: This paper presents a hierarchical modeling approach for estimating cardiomyocyte major and minor diameters and intracellular volume fraction (ICV) using diffusion-weighted MRI (DWI) data in ex vivo mouse hearts. METHODS: DWI data were acquired on two healthy controls and two hearts 3 weeks post transverse aortic constriction (TAC) using a bespoke diffusion scheme with multiple diffusion times ( Δ $$ \Delta $$ ), q-shells and diffusion encoding directions. Firstly, a bi-exponential tensor model was fitted separately at each diffusion time to disentangle the dependence on diffusion times from diffusion weightings, that is, b-values. The slow-diffusing component was attributed to the restricted diffusion inside cardiomyocytes. ICV was then extrapolated at Δ = 0 $$ \Delta =0 $$ using linear regression. Secondly, given the secondary and the tertiary diffusion eigenvalue measurements for the slow-diffusing component obtained at different diffusion times, major and minor diameters were estimated assuming a cylinder model with an elliptical cross-section (ECS). High-resolution three-dimensional synchrotron X-ray imaging (SRI) data from the same specimen was utilized to evaluate the biophysical parameters. RESULTS: Estimated parameters using DWI data were (control 1/control 2 vs. TAC 1/TAC 2): major diameter-17.4 μ $$ \mu $$ m/18.0 μ $$ \mu $$ m versus 19.2 μ $$ \mu $$ m/19.0 μ $$ \mu $$ m; minor diameter-10.2 μ $$ \mu $$ m/9.4 μ $$ \mu $$ m versus 12.8 μ $$ \mu $$ m/13.4 μ $$ \mu $$ m; and ICV-62%/62% versus 68%/47%. These findings were consistent with SRI measurements. CONCLUSION: The proposed method allowed for accurate estimation of biophysical parameters suggesting cardiomyocyte diameters as sensitive biomarkers of hypertrophy in the heart.