Possibility for Visualizing the Muscle Microstructure by q-Space Imaging Technique

Yasushi Sera, Daisuke Nakashima, Junichi Hata, Hirotaka James Okano, Kazuki Sato, Masaya Nakamura, Takeo Nagura

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In the human body, skeletal muscle microstructures have been evaluated only by biopsy. Noninvasive examination of the microstructure of muscles would be useful for research and clinical practice in sports and musculoskeletal areas. The study is aimed at determining if q-space imaging (QSI) can reveal the microstructure of muscles in humans. Forty-three Japanese subjects (controls, distance runners, powerlifting athletes, and teenage runners) were included in this cross-sectional study. Magnetic resonance imaging of the lower leg was performed. On each leg muscle, full width at half maximum (FWHM) which indicated the muscle cell diameters and pennation angle (PA) were measured and compared. FWHM showed significant positive correlations with PA, which is related to muscle strength. In addition, FWHM was higher for powerlifting, control, distance running, and teenager, in that order, suggesting that it may be directing the diameter of each muscle cell. Type 1 and type 2 fibers are enlarged by growth, so the fact that the FWHM of the control group was larger than that of the teenagers in this study may indicate that the muscle fibers were enlarged by growth. Also, FWHM has the possibility to increase with increased muscle fibers caused by training. We showed that QSI had the possibility to depict noninvasively the microstructure like muscle fiber type and subtle changes caused by growth and sports characteristics, which previously could only be assessed by biopsy.

Original languageEnglish
Article number7929589
JournalApplied Bionics and Biomechanics
Publication statusPublished - 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Bioengineering
  • Biomedical Engineering


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