Water transport across cell membranes can be measured non-invasively with diffusion NMR. We present a method to quantify the intracellular lifetime of water in cell suspensions with short transverse relaxation times, T2, and also circumvent the confounding effect of different T2 values in the intra- and extracellular compartments. Filter exchange spectroscopy (FEXSY) is specifically sensitive to exchange between compartments with different apparent diffusivities. Our investigation shows that FEXSY could yield significantly biased results if differences in T2 are not accounted for. To mitigate this problem, we propose combining FEXSY with diffusion-relaxation correlation experiment, which can quantify differences in T2 values in compartments with different diffusivities. Our analysis uses a joint constrained fitting of the two datasets and considers the effects of diffusion, relaxation and exchange in both experiments. The method is demonstrated on yeast cells with and without human aquaporins.
RATIONALE AND OBJECTIVES: Previous investigation suggests that visually detected interstitial changes in the lung parenchyma of smokers are highly clinically relevant and predict outcomes, including death. Visual subjective analysis to detect these changes is time-consuming, insensitive to subtle changes, and requires training to enhance reproducibility. Objective detection of such changes could provide a method of disease identification without these limitations. The goal of this study was to develop and test a fully automated image processing tool to objectively identify radiographic features associated with interstitial abnormalities in the computed tomography scans of a large cohort of smokers.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: An automated tool that uses local histogram analysis combined with distance from the pleural surface was used to detect radiographic features consistent with interstitial lung abnormalities in computed tomography scans from 2257 individuals from the Genetic Epidemiology of COPD study, a longitudinal observational study of smokers. The sensitivity and specificity of this tool was determined based on its ability to detect the visually identified presence of these abnormalities.
RESULTS: The tool had a sensitivity of 87.8% and a specificity of 57.5% for the detection of interstitial lung abnormalities, with a c-statistic of 0.82, and was 100% sensitive and 56.7% specific for the detection of the visual subtype of interstitial abnormalities called fibrotic parenchymal abnormalities, with a c-statistic of 0.89.
CONCLUSIONS: In smokers, a fully automated image processing tool is able to identify those individuals who have interstitial lung abnormalities with moderate sensitivity and specificity.
Diffusion MRI tractography is increasingly used in pre-operative neurosurgical planning to visualize critical fiber tracts. However, a major challenge for conventional tractography, especially in patients with brain tumors, is tracing fiber tracts that are affected by vasogenic edema, which increases water content in the tissue and lowers diffusion anisotropy. One strategy for improving fiber tracking is to use a tractography method that is more sensitive than the traditional single-tensor streamline tractography. We performed experiments to assess the performance of two-tensor unscented Kalman filter (UKF) tractography in edema. UKF tractography fits a diffusion model to the data during fiber tracking, taking advantage of prior information from the previous step along the fiber. We studied UKF performance in a synthetic diffusion MRI digital phantom with simulated edema and in retrospective data from two neurosurgical patients with edema affecting the arcuate fasciculus and corticospinal tracts. We compared the performance of several tractography methods including traditional streamline, UKF single-tensor, and UKF two-tensor. To provide practical guidance on how the UKF method could be employed, we evaluated the impact of using various seed regions both inside and outside the edematous regions, as well as the impact of parameter settings on the tractography sensitivity. We quantified the sensitivity of different methods by measuring the percentage of the patient-specific fMRI activation that was reached by the tractography. We expected that diffusion anisotropy threshold parameters, as well as the inclusion of a free water model, would significantly influence the reconstruction of edematous WM fiber tracts, because edema increases water content in the tissue and lowers anisotropy. Contrary to our initial expectations, varying the fractional anisotropy threshold and including a free water model did not affect the UKF two-tensor tractography output appreciably in these two patient datasets. The most effective parameter for increasing tracking sensitivity was the generalized anisotropy (GA) threshold, which increased the length of tracked fibers when reduced to 0.075. In addition, the most effective seeding strategy was seeding in the whole brain or in a large region outside of the edema. Overall, the main contribution of this study is to provide insight into how UKF tractography can work, using a two-tensor model, to begin to address the challenge of fiber tract reconstruction in edematous regions near brain tumors.
Aims: High-grade (Perugini grade 2 or 3) cardiac uptake on bone scintigraphy with 99mTechnetium labelled 3,3-diphosphono-1,2-propanodicarboxylic acid (99mTc-DPD) has lately been confirmed to have high diagnostic sensitivity and specificity for cardiac transthyretin (ATTR) amyloidosis. We sought to determine whether patient stratification by Perugini grade on 99mTc-DPD scintigraphy has prognostic significance in ATTR amyloidosis.
Methods and results: Patient survival from time of 99mTc-DPD scintigraphy was determined in 602 patients with ATTR amyloidosis, including 377 with wild-type ATTR (ATTRwt) and 225 with mutant ATTR (ATTRm) amyloidosis. Patients were stratified according to Perugini grade (0-3) on 99mTc-DPD scan. The prognostic significance of additional patient and disease-related factors at baseline were determined. In the whole cohort, the finding of a Perugini grade 0 99mTc-DPD scan (n = 28) was invariably associated with absence of cardiac amyloid according to consensus criteria as well as significantly better patient survival compared to a Perugini grade 1 (n = 28), 2 (n = 436) or 3 (n = 110) 99mTc-DPD scan (P < 0.005). There were no differences in survival between patients with a grade 1, grade 2 or grade 3 99mTc-DPD scan in ATTRwt (n = 369), V122I-associated ATTRm (n = 92) or T60A-associated ATTRm (n = 59) amyloidosis. Cardiac amyloid burden, determined by equilibrium contrast cardiac magnetic resonance imaging, was similar between patients with Perugini grade 2 and Perugini grade 3 99mTc-DPD scans but skeletal muscle/soft tissue to femur ratio was substantially higher in the latter group (P < 0.001).
Conclusion: 99mTc-DPD scintigraphy is exquisitely sensitive for identification of cardiac ATTR amyloid, but stratification by Perugini grade of positivity at diagnosis has no prognostic significance.
Progression markers of Parkinson's disease are crucial for successful therapeutic development. Recently, a diffusion magnetic resonance imaging analysis technique using a bitensor model was introduced allowing the estimation of the fractional volume of free water within a voxel, which is expected to increase in neurodegenerative disorders such as Parkinson's disease. Prior work demonstrated that free water in the posterior substantia nigra was elevated in Parkinson's disease compared to controls across single- and multi-site cohorts, and increased over 1 year in Parkinson's disease but not in controls at a single site. Here, the goal was to validate free water in the posterior substantia nigra as a progression marker in Parkinson's disease, and describe the pattern of progression of free water in patients with a 4-year follow-up tested in a multicentre international longitudinal study of de novo Parkinson's disease (http://www.ppmi-info.org/). The analyses examined: (i) 1-year changes in free water in 103 de novo patients with Parkinson's disease and 49 controls; (ii) 2- and 4-year changes in free water in a subset of 46 patients with Parkinson's disease imaged at baseline, 12, 24, and 48 months; (iii) whether 1- and 2-year changes in free water predict 4-year changes in the Hoehn and Yahr scale; and (iv) the relationship between 4-year changes in free water and striatal binding ratio in a subgroup of Parkinson's disease who had undergone both diffusion and dopamine transporter imaging. Results demonstrated that: (i) free water level in the posterior substantia nigra increased over 1 year in de novo Parkinson's disease but not in controls; (ii) free water kept increasing over 4 years in Parkinson's disease; (iii) sex and baseline free water predicted 4-year changes in free water; (iv) free water increases over 1 and 2 years were related to worsening on the Hoehn and Yahr scale over 4 years; and (v) the 4-year increase in free water was associated with the 4-year decrease in striatal binding ratio in the putamen. Importantly, all longitudinal results were consistent across sites. In summary, this study demonstrates an increase over 1 year in free water in the posterior substantia nigra in a large cohort of de novo patients with Parkinson's disease from a multi-site cohort study and no change in healthy controls, and further demonstrates an increase of free water in Parkinson's disease over the course of 4 years. A key finding was that results are consistent across sites and the 1-year and 2-year increase in free water in the posterior substantia nigra predicts subsequent long-term progression on the Hoehn and Yahr staging system. Collectively, these findings demonstrate that free water in the posterior substantia nigra is a valid, progression imaging marker of Parkinson's disease, which may be used in clinical trials of disease-modifying therapies.
Orthodox aquaporins are transmembrane channel proteins that facilitate rapid diffusion of water, while aquaglyceroporins facilitate the diffusion of small uncharged molecules such as glycerol and arsenic trioxide. Aquaglyceroporins play important roles in human physiology, in particular for glycerol metabolism and arsenic detoxification. We have developed a unique system applying the strain of the yeast Pichia pastoris, where the endogenous aquaporins/aquaglyceroporins have been removed and human aquaglyceroporins AQP3, AQP7, and AQP9 are recombinantly expressed enabling comparative permeability measurements between the expressed proteins. Using a newly established Nuclear Magnetic Resonance approach based on measurement of the intracellular life time of water, we propose that human aquaglyceroporins are poor facilitators of water and that the water transport efficiency is similar to that of passive diffusion across native cell membranes. This is distinctly different from glycerol and arsenic trioxide, where high glycerol transport efficiency was recorded.
The hypothesis that brain pathways form 2D sheet-like structures layered in 3D as "pages of a book" has been a topic of debate in the recent literature. This hypothesis was mainly supported by a qualitative evaluation of "path neighborhoods" reconstructed with diffusion MRI (dMRI) tractography. Notwithstanding the potentially important implications of the sheet structure hypothesis for our understanding of brain structure and development, it is still considered controversial by many for lack of quantitative analysis. A means to quantify sheet structure is therefore necessary to reliably investigate its occurrence in the brain. Previous work has proposed the Lie bracket as a quantitative indicator of sheet structure, which could be computed by reconstructing path neighborhoods from the peak orientations of dMRI orientation density functions. Robust estimation of the Lie bracket, however, is challenging due to high noise levels and missing peak orientations. We propose a novel method to estimate the Lie bracket that does not involve the reconstruction of path neighborhoods with tractography. This method requires the computation of derivatives of the fiber peak orientations, for which we adopt an approach called normalized convolution. With simulations and experimental data we show that the new approach is more robust with respect to missing peaks and noise. We also demonstrate that the method is able to quantify to what extent sheet structure is supported for dMRI data of different species, acquired with different scanners, diffusion weightings, dMRI sampling schemes, and spatial resolutions. The proposed method can also be used with directional data derived from other techniques than dMRI, which will facilitate further validation of the existence of sheet structure.
BACKGROUND: Bronchiolitis obliterans syndrome (BOS) is a clinical manifestation of chronic allograft rejection following lung transplantation. We examined the quantitative measurements of the proximal airway and vessels and pathologic correlations in subjects with BOS.
METHODS: Patients who received a lung transplant at the Brigham and Women's Hospital between December 1, 2002 and December 31, 2010 were included in this study. We characterized the quantitative CT measures of proximal airways and vessels and pathological changes.
RESULTS: Ninety-four (46.1%) of the 204 subjects were included in the study. There was a significant increase in the airway vessel ratio in subjects who developed progressive BOS compared to controls and non-progressors. There was a significant increase in airway lumen area and decrease in vessel cross-sectional area in patients with BOS compared to controls. Patients with BOS had a significant increase in proximal airway fibrosis compared to controls.
CONCLUSIONS: BOS is characterized by central airway dilation and vascular remodeling, the degree of which is correlated to decrements in lung function. Our data suggest that progressive BOS is a pathologic process that affects both the central and distal airways.
BACKGROUND: Bronchiectasis is frequent in smokers with COPD; however, there are only limited data on objective assessments of this process. The objective was to assess bronchovascular morphology, calculate the ratio of the diameters of bronchial lumen and adjacent artery (BA ratio), and identify those measurements able to discriminate bronchiectasis.
METHODS: We collected quantitative CT (QCT) measures of BA ratios, peak wall attenuation, wall thickness (WT), wall area, and wall area percent (WA%) at matched fourth through sixth airway generations in 21 ever smokers with bronchiectasis (cases) and 21 never-smoking control patients (control airways). In cases, measurements were collected at both bronchiectatic and nonbronchiectatic airways. Logistic analysis and the area under receiver operating characteristic curve (AUC) were used to assess the predictive ability of QCT measurements for bronchiectasis.
RESULTS: The whole-lung and fourth through sixth airway generation BA ratio, WT, and WA% were significantly greater in bronchiectasis cases than control patients. The AUCs for the BA ratio to predict bronchiectasis ranged from 0.90 (whole lung) to 0.79 (fourth-generation). AUCs for WT and WA% ranged from 0.72 to 0.75 and from 0.71 to 0.75. The artery diameters but not bronchial diameters were smaller in bronchiectatic than both nonbronchiectatic and control airways (P < .01 for both).
CONCLUSIONS: Smoking-related increases in the BA ratio appear to be driven by reductions in vascular caliber. QCT measures of BA ratio, WT, and WA% may be useful to objectively identify and quantify bronchiectasis in smokers.
TRIAL REGISTRY: ClinicalTrials.gov; No.: NCT00608764; URL: www.clinicaltrials.gov.
OBJECTIVE: The striatum receives segregated and integrative white matter tracts from the cortex facilitating information processing in the cortico-basal ganglia network. The authors examined both types of input tracts in the striatal associative loop in chronic schizophrenia patients and healthy control subjects.
METHOD: Structural and diffusion MRI scans were acquired on a 3-T system from 26 chronic schizophrenia patients and 26 matched healthy control subjects. Using FreeSurfer, the associative cortex was parcellated into ventrolateral prefrontal cortex and dorsolateral prefrontal cortex subregions. The striatum was manually parcellated into its associative and sensorimotor functional subregions. Fractional anisotropy and normalized streamlines, an estimate of fiber counts, were assessed in four frontostriatal tracts (dorsolateral prefrontal cortex-associative striatum, dorsolateral prefrontal cortex-sensorimotor striatum, ventrolateral prefrontal cortex-associative striatum, and ventrolateral prefrontal cortex-sensorimotor striatum). Furthermore, these measures were correlated with a measure of cognitive control, the Trail-Making Test, Part B.
RESULTS: Results showed reduced fractional anisotropy and fewer streamlines in chronic schizophrenia patients for all four tracts, both segregated and integrative. Post hoc t tests showed reduced fractional anisotropy in the left ventrolateral prefrontal cortex-associative striatum and left ventrolateral prefrontal cortex-sensorimotor striatum and fewer normalized streamlines in the right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex-sensorimotor striatum and in the left and right ventrolateral prefrontal cortex-sensorimotor striatum in chronic schizophrenia patients. Furthermore, normalized streamlines in the right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex-sensorimotor striatum negatively correlated with Trail-Making Test, Part B, time spent in healthy control subjects but not in chronic schizophrenia patients.
CONCLUSIONS: These findings demonstrated that structural connectivity is reduced in both segregated and integrative tracts in the striatal associative loop in chronic schizophrenia and that reduced normalized streamlines in the right-hemisphere dorsolateral prefrontal cortex-sensorimotor striatum predicted worse cognitive control in healthy control subjects but not in chronic schizophrenia patients, suggesting a loss of a "normal" brain-behavior correlation in chronic schizophrenia.
Diffusion MRI has been proposed as a non-invasive technique for axonal diameter mapping. However, accurate estimation of small diameters requires strong gradients, which is a challenge for the transition of the technique from preclinical to clinical MRI scanners, since these have weaker gradients. In this work, we develop a framework to estimate the lower bound for accurate diameter estimation, which we refer to as the resolution limit. We analyse only the contribution from the intra-axonal space and assume that axons can be represented by impermeable cylinders. To address the growing interest in using techniques for diffusion encoding that go beyond the conventional single diffusion encoding (SDE) sequence, we present a generalised analysis capable of predicting the resolution limit regardless of the gradient waveform. Using this framework, waveforms were optimised to minimise the resolution limit. The results show that, for parallel cylinders, the SDE experiment is optimal in terms of yielding the lowest possible resolution limit. In the presence of orientation dispersion, diffusion encoding sequences with square-wave oscillating gradients were optimal. The resolution limit for standard clinical MRI scanners (maximum gradient strength 60-80 mT/m) was found to be between 4 and 8 μm, depending on the noise levels and the level of orientation dispersion. For scanners with a maximum gradient strength of 300 mT/m, the limit was reduced to between 2 and 5 μm.
With the advancement of three-dimensional (3-D) real-time echocardiography in recent years, automatic creation of patient specific geometric models is becoming feasible and important in clinical decision making. However, the vast majority of echocardiographic segmentation methods presented in the literature focus on the left ventricle (LV) endocardial border, leaving segmentation of the right ventricle (RV) a largely unexplored problem, despite the increasing recognition of the RV's role in cardiovascular disease. We present a method for coupled segmentation of the endo- and epicardial borders of both the LV and RV in 3-D ultrasound images. To solve the segmentation problem, we propose an extension of a successful state-estimation segmentation framework with a geometrical representation of coupled surfaces, as well as the introduction of myocardial incompressibility to regularize the segmentation. The method was validated against manual measurements and segmentations in images of 16 patients. Mean absolute distances of [Formula: see text], [Formula: see text], and [Formula: see text] between the proposed and reference segmentations were observed for the LV endocardium, RV endocardium, and LV epicardium surfaces, respectively. The method was computationally efficient, with a computation time of [Formula: see text].
The assessment of the free water fraction in the brain provides important information about extracellular processes such as atrophy and neuroinflammation in various clinical conditions as well as in normal development and aging. Free water estimates from diffusion MRI are assumed to account for freely diffusing water molecules in the extracellular space, but may be biased by other pools of molecules in rapid random motion, such as the intravoxel incoherent motion (IVIM) of blood, where water molecules perfuse in the randomly oriented capillary network. The goal of this work was to separate the signal contribution of the perfusing blood from that of free-water and of other brain diffusivities. The influence of the vascular compartment on the estimation of the free water fraction and other diffusivities was investigated by simulating perfusion in diffusion MRI data. The perfusion effect in the simulations was significant, especially for the estimation of the free water fraction, and was maintained as long as low b-value data were included in the analysis. Two approaches to reduce the perfusion effect were explored in this study: (i) increasing the minimal b-value used in the fitting, and (ii) using a three-compartment model that explicitly accounts for water molecules in the capillary blood. Estimation of the model parameters while excluding low b-values reduced the perfusion effect but was highly sensitive to noise. The three-compartment model fit was more stable and additionally, provided an estimation of the volume fraction of the capillary blood compartment. The three-compartment model thus disentangles the effects of free water diffusion and perfusion, which is of major clinical importance since changes in these components in the brain may indicate different pathologies, i.e., those originating from the extracellular space, such as neuroinflammation and atrophy, and those related to the vascular space, such as vasodilation, vasoconstriction and capillary density. Diffusion MRI data acquired from a healthy volunteer, using multiple b-shells, demonstrated an expected non-zero contribution from the blood fraction, and indicated that not accounting for the perfusion effect may explain the overestimation of the free water fraction evinced in previous studies. Finally, the applicability of the method was demonstrated with a dataset acquired using a clinically feasible protocol with shorter acquisition time and fewer b-shells.
BACKGROUND: Chromosome 22q11.2 deletion syndrome (22q11.2DS) is a neurogenetic disorder that is associated with a 25-fold increase in schizophrenia. Both individuals with 22q11.2DS and those with schizophrenia present with social cognitive deficits, which are putatively subserved by a network of brain regions that are involved in the processing of social cognitive information. This study used two-tensor tractography to examine the white matter tracts believed to underlie the social brain network in a group of 57 young adults with 22q11.2DS compared to 30 unaffected controls.
RESULTS: Results indicated that relative to controls, participants with 22q11.2DS showed significant differences in several DTI metrics within the inferior fronto-occipital fasciculus, cingulum bundle, thalamo-frontal tract, and inferior longitudinal fasciculus. In addition, participants with 22q11.2DS showed significant differences in scores on measures of social cognition, including the Social Responsiveness Scale and Trait Emotional Intelligence Questionnaire. Further analyses among individuals with 22q11.2DS demonstrated an association between DTI metrics and positive and negative symptoms of psychosis, as well as differentiation between individuals with 22q11.2DS and overt psychosis, relative to those with positive prodromal symptoms or no psychosis.
CONCLUSIONS: Findings suggest that white matter disruption, specifically disrupted axonal coherence in the right inferior fronto-occipital fasciculus, may be a biomarker for social cognitive difficulties and psychosis in individuals with 22q11.2DS.
Computerized tomography (CT) is a widely adopted modality for analyzing directly or indirectly functional, biological and morphological processes by means of the image characteristics. However, the potential utilization of the information obtained from CT images is often limited when considering the analysis of quantitative information involving different devices, acquisition protocols or reconstruction algorithms. Although CT scanners are calibrated as a part of the imaging workflow, the calibration is circumscribed to global reference values and does not circumvent problems that are inherent to the imaging modality. One of them is the lack of noise stationarity, which makes quantitative biomarkers extracted from the images less robust and stable. Some methodologies have been proposed for the assessment of non-stationary noise in reconstructed CT scans. However, those methods focused on the non-stationarity only due to the reconstruction geometry and are mainly based on the propagation of the variance of noise throughout the whole reconstruction process. Additionally, the philosophy followed in the state-of-the-art methods is based on the reduction of noise, but not in the standardization of it. This means that, even if the noise is reduced, the statistics of the signal remain non-stationary, which is insufficient to enable comparisons between different acquisitions with different statistical characteristics. In this work, we propose a statistical characterization of noise in reconstructed CT scans that leads to a versatile statistical model that effectively characterizes different doses, reconstruction kernels, and devices. The statistical model is generalized to deal with the partial volume effect via a localized mixture model that also describes the non-stationarity of noise. Finally, we propose a stabilization scheme to achieve stationary variance. The validation of the proposed methodology was performed with a physical phantom and clinical CT scans acquired with different configurations (kernels, doses, algorithms including iterative reconstruction). The results confirmed its suitability to enable comparisons with different doses, and acquisition protocols.
We present a method to estimate a multivariate Gaussian distribution of diffusion tensor features in a set of brain regions based on a small sample of healthy individuals, and use this distribution to identify imaging abnormalities in subjects with mild traumatic brain injury. The multivariate model receives apriori knowledge in the form of a neighborhood graph imposed on the precision matrix, which models brain region interactions, and an additional Lsparsity constraint. The model is then estimated using the graphical LASSO algorithm and the Mahalanobis distance of healthy and TBI subjects to the distribution mean is used to evaluate the discriminatory power of the model. Our experiments show that the addition of the apriori neighborhood graph results in significant improvements in classification performance compared to a model which does not take into account the brain region interactions or one which uses a fully connected prior graph. In addition, we describe a method, using our model, to detect the regions that contribute the most to the overall abnormality of the DTI profile of a subject's brain.
Thepromoter polymorphism (rs35705950) has been associated with interstitial lung abnormalities (ILA) in white participants from the general population; whether these findings are replicated and influenced by the ILA subtype is not known. We evaluated the associations between thegenotype and ILA in cohorts with extensive imaging characterisation.We performed ILA phenotyping andpromoter genotyping in 5308 and 9292 participants from the AGES-Reykjavik and COPDGene cohorts, respectively.We found that ILA was present in 7% of participants from the AGES-Reykjavik, 8% of non-Hispanic white participants from COPDGene and 7% of African-American participants from COPDGene. Although thegenotype was strongly associated (after correction for multiple testing) with ILA (OR 2.1, 95% CI 1.8-2.4, p=1×10), there was evidence of significant heterogeneity between cohorts (I=81%). When narrowed to specific radiologic subtypes, (subpleural ILA), thegenotype remained strongly associated (OR 2.6, 95% CI 2.2-3.1, p=1×10) with minimal heterogeneity (I=0%). Although there was no evidence that thegenotype influenced survival, there was evidence thatgenotype improved risk prediction for possible usual interstitial pneumonia (UIP) or a UIP pattern in non-Hispanic white populations.Thepromoter polymorphism is strongly associated with ILA and specific radiologic subtypes of ILA, with varying degrees of heterogeneity in the underlying populations.
Solvents are commonly used in pharmaceutical and cosmetic formulations and sanitary products and cleansers. The uptake of solvent into the skin may change the molecular organization of skin lipids and proteins, which may in turn alter the protective skin barrier function. We herein examine the molecular effects of 10 different solvents on the outermost layer of skin, the stratum corneum (SC), using polarization transfer solid-state NMR on natural abundance (13)C in intact SC. With this approach it is possible to characterize the molecular dynamics of solvent molecules when present inside intact SC and to simultaneously monitor the effects caused by the added solvent on SC lipids and protein components. All solvents investigated cause an increased fluidity of SC lipids, with the most prominent effects shown for the apolar hydrocarbon solvents and 2-propanol. However, no solvent other than water shows the ability to fluidize amino acids in the keratin filaments. The solvent molecules themselves show reduced molecular mobility when incorporated in the SC matrix. Changes in the molecular properties of the SC, and in particular alternation in the balance between solid and fluid SC components, may have significant influences on the macroscopic SC barrier properties as well as mechanical properties of the skin. Deepened understanding of molecular effects of foreign compounds in SC fluidity can therefore have strong impact on the development of skin products in pharmaceutical, cosmetic, and sanitary applications.
RATIONALE AND OBJECTIVES: Imaging-based assessment of cardiovascular structure and function provides clinically relevant information in smokers. Non-cardiac-gated thoracic computed tomographic (CT) scanning is increasingly leveraged for clinical care and lung cancer screening. We sought to determine if more comprehensive measures of ventricular geometry could be obtained from CT using an atlas-based surface model of the heart.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: Subcohorts of 24 subjects with cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and 262 subjects with echocardiography were identified from COPDGene, a longitudinal observational study of smokers. A surface model of the heart was manually initialized, and then automatically optimized to fit the epicardium for each CT. Estimates of right and left ventricular (RV and LV) volume and free-wall curvature were then calculated and compared to structural and functional metrics obtained from MRI and echocardiograms.
RESULTS: CT measures of RV dimension and curvature correlated with similar measures obtained using MRI. RV and LV volume obtained from CT inversely correlated with echocardiogram-based estimates of RV systolic pressure using tricuspid regurgitation jet velocity and LV ejection fraction respectively. Patients with evidence of RV or LV dysfunction on echocardiogram had larger RV and LV dimensions on CT. Logistic regression models based on demographics and ventricular measures from CT had an area under the curve of >0.7 for the prediction of elevated right ventricular systolic pressure and ventricular failure.
CONCLUSIONS: These data suggest that non-cardiac-gated, non-contrast-enhanced thoracic CT scanning may provide insight into cardiac structure and function in smokers.