Microcomputed Tomography with Diffraction-Enhanced Imaging for Morphologic Characterization and Quantitative Evaluation of Microvessel of Hepatic Fibrosis in Rats
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Hepatic fibrosis can lead to deformation of vessel morphology and structure. In the present feasibility study, high-resolution computed tomography (CT) using diffraction-enhanced imaging (DEI) was used to represent three-dimensional (3D) vessel microstructures of hepatic fibrosis in rats and to differentiate different stages of hepatic fibrosis using qualitative descriptions and quantitative measurement of microvessels.
Material and Methods
Three typical specimens at different stages, i.e., mild, moderate and severe hepatic fibrosis, were imaged using DEI at 15 keV without contrast agents. The correspondence between DEI-CT images and histopathological findings was determined. The 3D visualizations from different stages of hepatic fibrosis were presented using DEI-CT. Additionally, Qualitative descriptions and quantitative evaluation of vessel features, such as vessel trend, vascular distortion deformation, thrombus formation and texture features on the inner wall of the vessel, were performed.
DEI-CT produced high-resolution images of the vessel microstructures in hepatic fibrosis that corresponded to information on actual structures observed from the histological sections. Combined with the 3D visualization technique, DEI-CT enabled the acquisition of an accurate description of the 3D vessel morphology from different stages of hepatic fibrosis. Qualitative descriptions and quantitative assessment of microvessels demonstrated clear differences between the different stages of hepatic fibrosis. The thrombus inside the vessel of severe liver fibrosis was accurately displayed, and corresponding analysis can provide an exact measurement of vessel stenosis rate.
DEI-CT may allow morphologic descriptions and quantitative evaluation of vessel microstructures from different stages of hepatic fibrosis and can better characterize the various stages of fibrosis progression using high-resolution 3D vessel morphology.