MRI to Measure Liver Fat Content

Brief Summary

Official Title: “Validation of (1)H-Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy for Quantification of Hepatic Triglyceride Content”

This study will determine whether a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) test of the liver can accurately measure the amount of fat in the liver compared to the results of a liver biopsy.

People 18 years of age and older who are scheduled to have or who have already had a liver biopsy as part of their medical care within 1 month of enrollment in this study may be eligible to participate.

Participants undergo an MRI. For this procedure, the subject lies still on a table that slides into a narrow metal cylinder (the MRI scanner) for 30 to 60 minutes. A special pad or tube is placed around the abdomen to improve the image of the liver obtained. Earplugs are placed in the ears to muffle loud thumping and knocking sounds that occur with the electrical switching of the magnetic field. The findings of the MRI are compared with those of the liver biopsy.

  • Study Type: Interventional
  • Study Design: Allocation: Non-Randomized, Endpoint Classification: Efficacy Study, Intervention Model: Single Group Assignment, Masking: Open Label, Primary Purpose: Diagnostic
  • Study Primary Completion Date: July 2010

Detailed Clinical Trial Description

Percutaneous liver biopsy remains the gold standard test to evaluate hepatic fat content, fibrosis and cirrhosis, but there is growing interest in the application of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) techniques such as (1)H-Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy ((1)H-MRS) as a non-invasive approach to quantify these characteristics. The ability to accurately quantify hepatic metabolites, such as intrahepatic lipid, has important implications for clinical evaluation and management of patients with liver related diseases and may obviate the need for liver biopsies in a number of clinical settings. The current proposal is designed to develop and validate hepatic (1)H-MRS capabilities at the NIH Clinical Center and to use this technique in a subsequent study to estimate the prevalence of hepatic steatosis among persons living with HIV/AIDS. In the present study we propose to complete MRI with (1)H-MRS in 70 adults who will be undergoing percutaneous liver biopsy in order to establish the ability of (1)H-MRS to accurately assess hepatic fat content compared to histopathological scoring.

Interventions Used in this Clinical Trial

  • Procedure: Diagnostic Radiology: 1H-MRS of the liver

Outcome Measures for this Clinical Trial

Primary Measures

  • Validate 1H-Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy to assess hepatic steatosis

Criteria for Participation in this Clinical Trial

Inclusion Criteria

Age 18+, male or female

Planned liver biopsy or liver biopsy within the past month with pathology samples available to be read at NIH CC

Exclusion Criteria

Known current pregnancy or pregnancy within 6 months

Contraindications to MRI

Subject is deemed unable to comply with requirements of study participation

Gender Eligibility for this Clinical Trial: Both

Minimum Age for this Clinical Trial: 18 Years

Maximum Age for this Clinical Trial: N/A

Are Healthy Volunteers Accepted for this Clinical Trial: No

Clinical Trial Investigator Information

  • Lead Sponsor
    • National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)


Nakao K, Nakata K, Ohtsubo N, Maeda M, Moriuchi T, Ichikawa T, Hamasaki K, Kato Y, Eguchi K, Yukawa K, Ishii N. Association between nonalcoholic fatty liver, markers of obesity, and serum leptin level in young adults. Am J Gastroenterol. 2002 Jul;97(7):1796-801.

Banerji MA, Buckley MC, Chaiken RL, Gordon D, Lebovitz HE, Kral JG. Liver fat, serum triglycerides and visceral adipose tissue in insulin-sensitive and insulin-resistant black men with NIDDM. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 1995 Dec;19(12):846-50.

Sabir N, Sermez Y, Kazil S, Zencir M. Correlation of abdominal fat accumulation and liver steatosis: importance of ultrasonographic and anthropometric measurements. Eur J Ultrasound. 2001 Dec;14(2-3):121-8.


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