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Exp Anim. 2018 May 10;67(2):249-257. doi: 10.1538/expanim.17-0124. Epub 2018 Jan 12.

Grading fatty liver by ultrasound time-domain radiofrequency signal analysis: an in vivo study of rats.

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Department of Ultrasound, West China Hospital of Sichuan University, No. 37 Guo Xue Xiang, Chengdu, Sichuan 610041, P.R. China.
Department of Ultrasound, Sichuan Academy of Medical Science & Sichuan Provincial People's Hospital, No. 32 Yi Huan Lu Xi Er Duan, Chengdu, Sichuan 610041, P.R. China.
Department of Biomedical Engineering, Sichuan University, Wangjiang Campus, No. 11 Yi Huan Lu Nan San Duan, Chengdu, Sichuan 610041, P.R. China.
Department of Pathology, West China Hospital of Sichuan University, No. 37 Guo Xue Xiang, Chengdu, Sichuan 610041, P.R. China.


This study aimed to assess the severity of fatty liver (FL) by analyzing ultrasound radiofrequency (RF) signals in rats. One hundred and twenty rats (72 in the FL group and 48 in the control group) were used for this purpose. Histological results were the golden standard: 42 cases had normal livers (N), 30 cases had mild FL (L1), 25 cases had moderate FL (L2), 13 cases presented with severe FL (L3), and 10 cases were excluded from the study. Four RF parameters (Mean, Mean/SD ratio [MSR], skewness [SK], and kurtosis [KU] were extracted. Univariate analysis, spearman correlation analysis, and stepwise regression analysis were used to select the most powerful predictors. Receiver operating characteristic (ROC) analysis was used to compare the diagnostic efficacy of single indexes with a combined index (Y) expressed by a regression equation. Mean, MSR, SK, and KU were significantly correlated with FL grades (r=0.71, P<0.001; r=0.81, P<0.001; r=-0.79, P<0.001; and r=-0.74, P<0.001). The regression equation was Y=-4.48 + 3.20 × 10-2X1 + 3.15X2 (P<0.001), where Y=hepatic steatosis grade, X1 =Mean, and X2 =MSR. ROC analysis showed that the curve areas of the combined index (Y) were superior to simple indexes (Mean, MSR, SK, and KU) in evaluating hepatic steatosis grade, and they were 0.95 (L≥L1), 0.98 (L≥L2), and 0.99 (L≥L3). Ultrasound radiofrequency signal quantitative technology was a new, noninvasive, and promising sonography-based approach for the assessment of FL.


fatty liver; rat; ultrasound radiofrequency signal

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