Large-scale, deep-learning MRI analysis shows enlarged spleen in T2D and NAFLD patients

New data from deep-learning analysis of spleen volume in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans from around 35.000 UK Biobank participants is presented at the International Liver Congress™ 2022 by Lars Johansson, Chief Scientific Officer at Antaros Medical.

Portal hypertension is a hallmark of liver cirrhosis, the result of different causes of chronic liver injury including non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). Being interconnected to the liver via the hepatic portal vein, the spleen can become enlarged due to increased portal venous pressure. The results presented today from large-scale, deep-learning MRI analysis show enlarged spleen volume in type 2 diabetes (T2D) and NAFLD patients compared to disease control groups potentially reflecting an increased portal venous pressure occurring already early in NAFLD. The work has been performed as a collaboration between Uppsala University and Antaros Medical.

Title: The association of spleen volume with sex, age, type 2-diabetes, and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease-initial results from more than 35, 000 UK Biobank participants
Abstract number: SAT038
Authors: Helgesson S, Tarai S, Langner T, Ahlström H, Johansson L, Kullberg J, Lundström E
Poster presented at the EASL ILC 2022, Saturday 25 June 2022

Magnetic resonance imaging to assess pathophysiological features of liver fibrosis and portal hypertension
Portal hypertension is a hallmark of liver cirrhosis. Increased portal pressure increases the risk for decompensation and severe complications such as variceal bleeding and ascites. Today, portal hypertension is defined using thresholds of hepatic venous pressure gradient (HVPG) which is limited by its complexity, extreme invasiveness, and operator-dependence. There is a need for effective, non-invasive biomarkers of portal venous pressure for use in clinical trials, not only to reduce the burden of the HPVG measurements but also to provide richer and more informative data that better reflects pathophysiological processes and the impact of novel treatments.

MRI provides a powerful platform to assess pathophysiological features that represent the dynamic and static nature of portal hypertension as well as liver fibrosis. This includes the structure, composition and stiffness of the liver and spleen, hemodynamics of the portal vein and hepatocyte function. Further, the non-invasive, non-radiating characteristics of MRI allows for repeated examinations to follow long-term treatment effects.

Read more around our work in this area here: Assessing treatment effects in liver cirrhosis and portal hypertension with an integrated imaging approach.

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