This paper gives a brief overview of common non-invasive techniques for body composition analysis and a more in-depth review of a body composition assessment method based on fat-referenced quantitative MRI. Earlier published studies of this method are summarized, and a previously unpublished validation study, based on 4753 subjects from the UK Biobank imaging cohort, comparing the quantitative MRI method with dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) is presented. For whole-body measurements of adipose tissue (AT) or fat and lean tissue (LT), DXA and quantitative MRIs show excellent agreement with linear correlation of 0.99 and 0.97, and coefficient of variation (CV) of 4.5 and 4.6 per cent for fat (computed from AT) and LT, respectively, but the agreement was found significantly lower for visceral adipose tissue, with a CV of >20 per cent. The additional ability of MRI to also measure muscle volumes, muscle AT infiltration and ectopic fat, in combination with rapid scanning protocols and efficient image analysis tools, makes quantitative MRI a powerful tool for advanced body composition assessment.
- body composition
- magnetic resonance imaging
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Contributors MB, JW and ODL planned the work. MB, TR and ODL developed and applied the MR analysis methods used. JDB was responsible for the UK Biobank body MRI and NCH for the UK Biobank DXA scans. MB and JW performed the statistical analyses. SBH contributed with expertise on body composition. MB drafted the manuscript. All authors contributed to editing the text.
Funding Funding support for analysis of UK Biobank data was provided by Pfizer.
Competing interests MB, JW, TR and ODL are employees and stockholders of AMRA Medical AB.
Patient consent Obtained.
Ethics approval North West Multicenter Research Ethics Committee (MREC), UK.
Provenance and peer review Commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
Data sharing statement The underlying data used in this study are available though the UK Biobank resource. All bonafide researchers can apply to use the UK Biobank resource for health-related research that is of public interest by applying in the Access Management System (AMS). For details, see: www.ukbiobank.ac.uk/
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