Authors: Maria Berru, Christopher Lopez, Alex Roetzheim, Andres Saavedra, Glenn Walter, Krista Vandenborne, Tanja Taivassalo, Sean C. Forbes
Faculty Mentor: Sean C. Forbes
College: College of Public Health and Health Professions
Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) is characterized by a progressive replacement of muscle by fat and fibrous tissue, muscle weakness, and loss of functional abilities. Muscle fat fraction (FF) determined by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and clinical functional measures are established markers of disease progression in DMD. Impaired oxygen delivery has also been observed in DMD, and this can be evaluated using the MRI blood oxygenation level dependent (BOLD) response after muscle contractions. The objective of this study was to determine whether the post-contractile MRI BOLD response is correlated with markers of disease progression in DMD, including FF of lower leg muscles and functional assessments. Young DMD boys (n=15, 5-14 years) and unaffected controls (n=16, 5-14 years) were evaluated using MRI BOLD, FF, and functional assessments. The BOLD response was measured following five brief maximal voluntary contractions, separated by one minute. FF from lower extremity muscles were quantified via Dixon imaging. Functional assessments (10m walk/run time, 4-stair climb time, supine to stand time, and 6-minute walk test) were used to assess functional abilities. The direct relationship observed between the post-contractile peak MRI BOLD response and FF suggests that the MRI BOLD measure may be used to track disease progression in DMD.