AMRA, in partnership with Linköping University, investigated body composition in liver needle biopsy-controlled patients with various chronic liver diseases using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and will share the results at the European Association for the Study of the Liver (EASL) Digital International Liver Congress 2020, 27-29 August.

AMRA analyzed abdominal MR images of 90 patients with suspected chronic liver disease. Liver needle biopsies were performed within an hour of liver MRI for definite diagnosis and fibrosis staging—34 had Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD) and 56 had other etiologies. AMRA specifically quantified visceral adipose tissue (VAT) and muscle fat infiltration (MFI) of the spinal erectors using AMRA Researcher, which automates the volumetric assessment of MR images.

The researchers found that the NAFLD group had significantly higher VAT (normalized by height) and MFI compared to other etiologies, and, surprisingly, in patients with NAFLD, MFI increased with stage of fibrosis, which suggests sarcopenic activity, elevated metabolic dysfunction, or both.

Previous studies have shown that sarcopenia, or adverse muscle composition, develops almost universally in patients with cirrhosis; leads to more pre-, peri-, and post-operative complications; and is associated with NAFLD comorbidities. It lowers post-operative survival in liver transplant settings, and negatively impacts treatment outcome. In another study from AMRA, assessing muscle volume, in combination with muscle fat, was shown to be more strongly associated to muscle and mobility function compared to muscle volume alone1.

The ability to differentiate muscle composition between patients with chronic liver disease such as NAFLD can potentially equip researchers with objective clinical endpoints. AMRA’s method reduces image analysis time via automated image calibration, labeling, and registration of fat and muscle regions, which is usually performed manually.

Annually, roughly 10,000 scientific and medical experts from a broad range of fields come together at the ILC to learn about the latest liver research. This year, owing to COVID-19, the event is entirely online, as The Digital International Liver Congress. AMRA will present “Muscle fat is higher in NAFLD, and increases with fibrosis stage – a retrospective liver biopsy controlled magnetic resonance imaging-based body composition study.”

For more information, visit AMRA or attend AMRA’s digital poster presentation.

Featured image: AMRA Medical and Linköping University collaborated on a liver biopsy-controlled MRI-based body composition study and will present the results at the virtual EASL Digital International Liver Congress 2020. (courtesy AMRA)


  1. Linge J, et al (2019) On the Definition of Sarcopenia in the Presence of Aging and Obesity—Initial Results from UK Biobank, The Journals of Gerontology: Series A, doi: 10.1093/gerona/glz229