Houchun Harry Hu1, 2, Thomas G. Perkins3, Jonathan M. Chia3, Vicente Gilsanz1
1Radiology, Children's Hospital of Los Angeles, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA, United States; 2Electrical Engineering, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA, United States; 3Philips Healthcare, United States
We utilized chemical-shift water-fat MRI techniques to measure T2* relaxation times in human adipose tissue. In oncology patients and healthy volunteers, we have consistently observed in suspected sites of interscapular brown adipose tissue (BAT) an evident decrease in T2* in comparison to subcutaneous white adipose tissue (WAT). The lower T2* values in BAT can be attributed to the tissues greater vascularization and mitochondria (iron) content. On anatomical images, fat pads with seemingly homogeneous fat signals exhibit rather heterogenous distributions on the co-registered quantitative T2* maps, supportive of the notion that small clusters of BAT adipocytes are likely interspersed amongst WAT.