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Darstellung der verschiedenen geplanten Tierexperimente und angewandten Methoden im SFB.

The extracellular matrix as a target structure for biophysical and molecular imaging of inflammation and fibrosis of the liver

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Project content

There is a high demand for non-invasive diagnosis of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). Both diseases cause a remodelling of the extracellular matrix (ECM); our own preliminary work shows the high sensitivity of magnetic resonance elastography (MRE) in this respect. We are investigating whether modern MRE methods and ECM-targeted probes allow the image-based characterisation of disease-specific altered ECM structures. To correlate results from MRE, histology and biochemical analysis, resected specimens, DCM phantoms as well as NAFLD and NASH animal models will be investigated.

Our team

Project Lead:
PD Dr. med. Patrick Asbach
PD Dr. med. Dominik Geisel
PD Dr. rer. nat. Jürgen Braun

PhD Candidates (PhD) and Postdoctoral Researchers (PostDoc):
Joachim Snellings (PhD)
Helge Herthum (PhD)


  • Hudert CA, Tzschätzsch H, Rudolph B, Loddenkemper C, Holzhütter HG, Kalveram L, Wiegand S, Braun J, Sack I, Guo J. How histopathologic changes in pediatric nonalcoholic fatty liver disease influence in vivo liver stiffness. Acta Biomater. 2021 Mar 15;123:178-186. doi: 10.1016/j.actbio.2021.01.019. Epub 2021 Jan 17. PMID: 33472102.
  • Garczyńska K, Tzschätzsch H, Kühl AA, Morr AS, Lilaj L, Häckel A, Schellenberger E, Berndt N, Holzhütter HG, Braun J, Sack I, Guo J. Changes in Liver Mechanical Properties and Water Diffusivity During Normal Pregnancy Are Driven by Cellular Hypertrophy. Front Physiol. 2020 Nov 23;11:605205. doi: 10.3389/fphys.2020.605205. PMID: 33329058; PMCID: PMC7719759.
  • Everwien H, Ariza de Schellenberger A, Haep N, Tzschätzsch H, Pratschke J, Sauer IM, Braun J, Hillebrandt KH, Sack I. Magnetic resonance elastography quantification of the solid-to-fluid transition of liver tissue due to decellularization. J Mech Behav Biomed Mater. 2020 Apr;104:103640. doi: 10.1016/j.jmbbm.2020.103640. Epub 2020 Jan 14. PMID: 32174398.
  • Reiter R, Tzschätzsch H, Schwahofer F, Haas M, Bayerl C, Muche M, Klatt D, Majumdar S, Uyanik M, Hamm B, Braun J, Sack I, Asbach P. Diagnostic performance of tomoelastography of the liver and spleen for staging hepatic fibrosis. Eur Radiol. 2020 Mar;30(3):1719-1729. doi: 10.1007/s00330-019-06471-7. Epub 2019 Nov 11. PMID: 31712963; PMCID: PMC7033143.
  • Shahryari M, Tzschätzsch H, Guo J, Marticorena Garcia SR, Böning G, Fehrenbach U, Stencel L, Asbach P, Hamm B, Käs JA, Braun J, Denecke T, Sack I. Tomoelastography Distinguishes Noninvasively between Benign and Malignant Liver Lesions. Cancer Res. 2019 Nov 15;79(22):5704-5710. doi: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-19-2150. Epub 2019 Sep 24. PMID: 31551364.
  • de Schellenberger AA, Tzschätzsch H, Polchlopek B, Bertalan G, Schrank F, Garczynska K, Janmey PA, Braun J, Sack I. Sensitivity of multifrequency magnetic resonance elastography and diffusion-weighted imaging to cellular and stromal integrity of liver tissue. J Biomech. 2019 May 9;88:201-208. doi: 10.1016/j.jbiomech.2019.03.037. Epub 2019 Apr 2. PMID: 30961968.
  • Ziegler JF, Böttcher C, Letizia M, Yerinde C, Wu H, Freise I, Rodriguez-Sillke Y, Stoyanova AK, Kreis ME, Asbach P, Kunkel D, Priller J, Anagnostopoulos I, Kühl AA, Miehle K, Stumvoll M, Tran F, Fredrich B, Forster M, Franke A, Bojarski C, Glauben R, Löscher BS, Siegmund B, Weidinger C. Leptin induces TNFα-dependent inflammation in acquired generalized lipodystrophy and combined Crohn's disease. Nat Commun. 2019 Dec 10;10(1):5629. doi: 10.1038/s41467-019-13559-7. PMID: 31822667; PMCID: PMC6904732.
  • Asbach P, Ro SR, Aldoj N, Snellings J, Reiter R, Lenk J, Köhlitz T, Haas M, Guo J, Hamm B, Braun J, Sack I. In Vivo Quantification of Water Diffusion, Stiffness, and Tissue Fluidity in Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia and Prostate Cancer. Invest Radiol. 2020 Aug;55(8):524-530. doi: 10.1097/RLI.0000000000000685. PMID: 32496317.