Magnetic susceptibility as a B0 field strength independent MRI biomarker of liver iron overload

Diego Hernando, Rachel J. Cook, Carol Diamond, Scott B. Reeder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Purpose MR-based quantification of liver magnetic susceptibility may enable field strength-independent measurement of liver iron concentration (LIC). However, susceptibility quantification is challenging, due to nonlocal effects of susceptibility on the B0 field. The purpose of this work is to demonstrate feasibility of susceptibility-based LIC quantification using a fat-referenced approach. Methods Phantoms consisting of vials with increasing iron concentrations immersed between oil/water layers, and 27 subjects (9 controls/18 subjects with liver iron overload) were scanned. Ferriscan (1.5 T) provided R2-based reference LIC. Multiecho three-dimensional-SPGR (1.5 T/3 T) enabled fat-water, B0- and R2*-mapping. Phantom iron concentration (mg Fe L-1) was estimated from B0 differences (ΔB0) between vials and neighboring oil. Liver susceptibility and LIC (mg Fe g-1 dry tissue) was estimated from ΔB0 between the lateral right lobe of the liver and adjacent subcutaneous adipose tissue. Results Estimated phantom iron concentrations had good correlation with true iron concentrations (1.5 T:slope = 0.86, intercept = 0.72, r2 = 0.98; 3 T:slope = 0.85, intercept = 1.73, r2 = 0.98). In liver, ΔB0 correlated strongly with R2* (1.5 T:r2 = 0.86; 3 T:r2 = 0.93) and B0-LIC had good agreement with Ferriscan-LIC (slopes/intercepts nearly 1.0/0.0, 1.5 T:r 2 = 0.67, slope = 0.93 ± 0.13, P ≈ 0.50, intercept = 1.93 ± 0.78, P ≈ 0.02; 3 T:r2 = 0.84, slope = 1.01 ± 0.09, P ≈ 0.90, intercept = 0.23 ± 0.52, P ≈ 0.68). Discussion Fat-referenced, susceptibility-based LIC estimation is feasible at both field strengths. This approach may enable improved susceptibility mapping in the abdomen.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)648-656
Number of pages9
JournalMagnetic Resonance in Medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • chemical shift encoded imaging
  • field map
  • iron overload
  • liver
  • magnetic resonance imaging
  • susceptibility

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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