Research Article: Diffusion-weighted imaging for evaluating inflammatory activity in Crohn’s disease: comparison with histopathology, conventional MRI activity scores, and faecal calprotectin

Date Published: August 27, 2016

Publisher: Springer US

Author(s): D. A. Pendsé, J. C. Makanyanga, A. A. Plumb, G. Bhatnagar, D. Atkinson, Manuel Rodriguez-Justo, S. Halligan, S. A. Taylor.


To evaluate whether the extent of enteric diffusion-weighted imaging (DWI) signal abnormality reflects inflammatory burden in Crohn’s disease (CD), and to compare qualitative and quantitative grading.

69 CD patients (35 male, age 16–78) undergoing MR enterography with DWI (MRE-D) and the same-day faecal calprotectin (cohort 1) were supplemented by 29 patients (19 male, age 16–70) undergoing MRE-D and terminal ileal biopsy (cohort 2). Global (cohort 1) and terminal ileal (cohort 2) DWI signal was graded (0 to 3) by 2 radiologists and segmental apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) calculated. Data were compared to calprotectin and a validated MRI activity score [MEGS] (cohort 1), and a histopathological activity score (eAIS) (cohort 2) using nonparametric testing and rank correlation.

Patients with normal (grades 0 and 1) DWI signal had lower calprotectin and MEGS than those with abnormal signal (grades 2 and 3) (160 vs. 492 μg/l, p = 0.0004, and 3.3 vs. 21, p < 0.0001), respectively. Calprotectin was lower if abnormal DWI affected <10 cm of small bowel compared to diffuse small and large bowel abnormality (236 vs. 571 μg, p = 0.009). The sensitivity and specificity for active disease (calprotectin > 120 μg/l) were 83% and 52%, respectively. There was a negative correlation between ileal MEGS and ADC (r = −0.41, p = 0.017). There was no significant difference in eAIS between qualitative DWI scores (p = 0.42). Mean ADC was not different in those with and without histological inflammation (2077 vs. 1622 × 10−6mm2/s, p = 0.10)

Qualitative grading of DWI signal has utility in defining the burden of CD activity. Quantitative ADC measurements have poor discriminatory ability for segmental disease activity.

Partial Text

Regulatory and ethical approvals were obtained, and all prospectively recruited patients gave informed written consent.

This study aimed to evaluate the accuracy of subjective grading of DWI signal and objective measurement of ADC in grading of Crohn’s disease activity using a range of segmental and global standards of reference.




Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.