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Abstract #4849

Water diffusion MRI as a biomarker of fetal lung development

Xuefeng Cao1,2, Xiaojie Wang3, Jinbang Guo1,4, Nara S. Higano1,4, Susan E. Wert5, Christopher D. Kroenke3, and Jason C. Woods1,2,4,6

1Center for Pulmonary Imaging Research, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, OH, United States, 2Department of Physics, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH, United States, 3Advanced Imaging Research Center, Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, OR, United States, 4Department of Physics, Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis, MO, United States, 5Pulmonary Biology, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, OH, United States, 6Department of Radiology, CCHMC, Cincinnati, OH, United States

In the developing fetal lung of both humans and rhesus macaques, the amount of interstitial tissue decreases during the transition from the canalicular to saccular stage. We hypothesize that this change corresponds to a decrease in restricted 1H diffusion in fetal lungs. 17 rhesus fetal lungs (in-vivo and ex-vivo) were imaged at gestation days 83-85, 110, and 133-135 with diffusion-weighted MRI. The apparent diffusion coefficients (ADCs, normalized by free-diffusion) significantly increased with gestational age for both in-vivo and ex-vivo experiments. These results demonstrate that ADC in the fetal lung can be used as a biomarker for the degree of alveolarization.

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