Get access

Can Contrast-Enhanced Sonography Detect Bowel Wall Fibrosis in Mixed Inflammatory and Fibrotic Crohn Disease Lesions in an Animal Model?


  • This research was partly funded by unrestricted investigator-initiated grants from Bracco Diagnostics, Inc, and Siemens Medical Solutions USA, Inc (J.R.D.).



To determine whether contrast-enhanced sonographic quantitative perfusion parameters can detect bowel wall fibrosis in the setting of mixed inflammatory and fibrotic lesions in a Crohn disease animal model.


This study was approved by the institutional Committee on the Use and Care of Animals. Multiple (range, 1–5) 2,4,6-trinitrobenzenesulfonic acid–ethanol enemas were used to create intestinal inflammatory lesions with variable fibrosis in female Lewis rats. Low–mechanical index contrast-enhanced sonography was performed 3 days after the final enema using a 0.2-mL bolus of sulfur hexafluoride microbubbles injected through a tail vein. Contrast-enhanced sonographic data were analyzed with software that converts video data into echo-power (linearized) data. Colorectal lesions were scored for histopathologic inflammation and fibrosis; bowel wall collagen was quantified by Western blotting. The Spearman correlation was used to assess associations between contrast-enhanced sonographic quantitative parameters and bowel wall collagen; the Kruskal-Wallis test was used to compare continuous results between histopathologic groups.


Thirty-one animals were included in our analysis. Animals were placed into 3 histopathologic cohorts: (1) severe bowel wall inflammation/minimal or no fibrosis (n = 11); (2) severe bowel wall inflammation/moderate fibrosis (n = 9); and (3) severe bowel wall inflammation/severe fibrosis (n = 11). Western blotting showed a significant difference in bowel wall collagen between histopathologic cohorts (P = .0001). There was no correlation between any contrast-enhanced sonographic quantitative parameter and bowel wall collagen (P > .05). There was no difference between histopathologic cohorts for any contrast-enhanced sonographic quantitative parameter (P > .05).


Contrast-enhanced sonographic quantitative perfusion parameters failed to effectively detect bowel wall fibrosis in the setting of superimposed inflammation in a Crohn disease animal model.