Demonstration of changes in fetal liver erythropoiesis using echo- planar magnetic resonance imaging

K. R. Duncan, P. N. Baker, P. A. Gowland, B. Issa, R. Moore, B. Worthington, I. R. Johnson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Citations (Scopus)


This study investigated the variation in magnetic resonance characteristics of the fetal liver during a time of changing erythropoietic function. Echo-planar imaging was carried out in 25 normal pregnant women at 20 and 26 wk gestation. The signal intensity from regions of the fetal liver, background image, and maternal back muscle and the highest signal intensity from the maternal spinal cord were measured and compared with the signal intensity of amniotic fluid. Data are expressed as ratios, in arbitrary units (median pixel values; interquartile range shown in parentheses), and analyzed with the use of Wilcoxon's signed-rank test. At 20 wk, the signal intensity ratio of liver to amniotic fluid was 0.309 (0.231-0.365). At 26 wk, the ratio was 0.544 (0.429-0.616). The change was highly significant (P < 0.0001). No change in the signal intensity ratios of amniotic fluid compared with other measured parameters was noted. These data are consistent with known changes in fetal liver erythropoiesis occurring between 20 and 26 wk gestation and have potential use in early noninvasive physiological assessment of the fetus.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)G965-G967
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology
Issue number4 36-4
Publication statusPublished - 1997
Externally publishedYes


  • Hematopoiesis
  • Noninvasive fetal assessment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Hepatology
  • Gastroenterology
  • Physiology (medical)


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