Multi-parametric MR imaging of quadriceps musculature in the setting of clinical frailty syndrome

David M. Melville, Jane Mohler, Mindy Fain, Amy E. Muchna, Elizabeth Krupinski, Puneet Sharma, Mihra S. Taljanovic

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Objective: Frailty is a common geriatric syndrome associated with loss of skeletal muscle mass (sarcopenia) conferring an increased risk of rapid decline in health and function with increased vulnerability to adverse outcomes. The purpose of this study was to investigate the correlation between diffusion tensor, T2 and intramuscular fat content values of the quadriceps muscle group and clinical frailty status using diffusion tensor MR imaging. Material and Methods: Subjects were recruited from the Arizona Frailty cohort composed of all females with frailty status based on the Fried criteria, including 6 non-frail and 10 pre-frail/frail adults, as well as a community sample of 11 young, healthy controls. Axial images of both thighs were obtained on a 3-T magnet with T1, T2 and diffusion tensor imaging as well as intramuscular fat analysis. Diffusion tensor and T2 values were determined by region-of-interest measurements at the proximal, mid and distal thirds of both thighs. Data were evaluated to determine differences between measured values and frailty status. Results: The mean fractional anisotropy (FA) values in the bilateral quadriceps muscles demonstrated significant differences (F = 7.558, p = 0.0030) between the control and pre-frail/frail and non-frail and pre-frail/frail groups. There was a significant difference in mean T2 (F = 21.675, p < 0.0001) and lipid content (F = 19.266, p < 0.0001) among all three groups in the total quadriceps muscle group. Conclusion: The quadriceps musculature of pre-frail/frail adults demonstrated increased FA compared to young controls and non-frail adults with increasing T2 and intramuscular fat among the control, non-frail and pre-frail/frail categories.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)583-589
Number of pages7
JournalSkeletal Radiology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2016


  • Diffusion tensor imaging
  • Frailty
  • MRI
  • Muscle
  • Sarcopenia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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