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Phys Med Biol. 2010 Nov 7;55(21):6445-59. doi: 10.1088/0031-9155/55/21/007. Epub 2010 Oct 15.

Viscoelasticity-based MR elastography of skeletal muscle.

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  • 1Department of Radiology, Charité-Universitätsmedizin, Berlin, Germany.


An in vivo multifrequency magnetic resonance elastography (MRE) protocol was developed for studying the viscoelastic properties of human skeletal muscle in different states of contraction. Low-frequency shear vibrations in the range of 25-62.5 Hz were synchronously induced into the femoral muscles of seven volunteers and measured in a cross-sectional view by encoding the fast-transverse shear wave component parallel to the muscle fibers. The so-called springpot model was used for deriving two viscoelastic constants, μ and α, from the dispersion functions of the complex shear modulus in relaxed and in loaded muscle. Representing the shear elasticity parallel to the muscle fibers, μ increased in all volunteers upon contraction from 2.68 ± 0.23 kPa to 3.87 ± 0.50 kPa. Also α varied with load, indicating a change in the geometry of the mechanical network of muscle from relaxation (α = 0.253 ± 0.009) to contraction (α = 0.270 ± 0.009). These results provide a reference for a future assessment of muscular dysfunction using rheological parameters.

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