Methods of investigating neuromuscular diseases evolve over time and with the development of new technologies. Imaging is a perfect example of this, that has become over the past fifteen years a complementary tool to reach a diagnosis but is also became essential as a reliable and non-invasive biomarker in the context of the natural history of a muscle disease or a therapeutic trial. The time taken to acquire images and the difficulty of discerning tissue alterations in the most intimate areas of muscles, especially in 3D, remain obstacles to its development and to its routine use.
In an article published in September 2020, researchers from the Institute of Myology (Paris), supported by the AFM-Telethon, report the development of several sequences and algorithms allowing magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to circumvent in party to these pitfalls. The originality of this new approach lies in the possibility of simultaneously quantifying the fraction of adipose tissue and the water content in T1 sequence, in the three dimensions of space (3D) and on the scale of a whole leg. This study, carried out in eleven healthy volunteers and six people with neuromuscular diseases, also confirms, in these 3D conditions, the interest of MRF T1 -FF, an index allowing to judge the activity of the lesion process inside the muscle. By decreasing the sampling frequency, the researchers were also able to significantly reduce the acquisition time of such images (4 minutes 20 seconds).