Nina F. Schwenzer1,2, Christina Schraml1,2, Ina Ktter3, Jrg C. Henes3, Claus D. Claussen1, Fritz Schick2, Marius Horger1
1Department of Diagnostic and Interventional Radiology, University Hospital of Tbingen, Tbingen, BW, Germany; 2Department of Diagnostic and Interventional Radiology, Section on Experimental Radiology, University Hospital of Tbingen, Tbingen, BW, Germany; 3Department of Internal Medicine II, University Hospital of Tbingen, Tbingen, BW, Germany
Systemic sclerosis is an autoimmune disease characterized by fibrosis, predominantly of the skin and vessels but also of internal organs and the skeletal muscle. Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) is able to display diffusional characteristics of tissue. It seems plausible that water diffusivity within the muscle will change due to inflammation and subsequent fibrosis. Our results showed that the mean diffusivity increased in affected muscle groups while the fractional anisotropy did not change compared to healthy volunteers. This might be explained by the fact that the inflammatory processes affect mainly the perimysium of the muscle while the muscle fiber remains unchanged.