Lung injury induced by secondhand smoke exposure detected with hyperpolarized helium-3 diffusion MR

Chengbo Wang, John P. Mugler, Eduard E. De Lange, James T. Patrie, Jaime F. Mata, Talissa A. Altes

Research output: Journal PublicationArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose To determine whether helium-3 diffusion MR can detect the changes in the lungs of healthy nonsmoking individuals who were regularly exposed to secondhand smoke. Materials and Methods Three groups were studied (age: 59 ± 9 years): 23 smokers, 37 exposure-to-secondhand-smoke subjects, and 29 control subjects. We measured helium-3 diffusion values at diffusion times from 0.23 to 1.97 s. Results One-way analysis of variance revealed that the mean area under the helium-3 diffusion curves (ADC AUC) of the smokers was significantly elevated compared with the controls and to the exposure-to-secondhand-smoke subjects (P < 0.001 both). No difference between the mean ADC AUC of the exposure-to-secondhand-smoke subjects and that of the controls was found (P = 0.115). However, application of a receiver operator characteristic-derived rule to classify subjects as either a "control" or a "smoker," based on ADC AUC, revealed that 30% (11/37) of the exposure-to-secondhand subjects were classified as "smokers" indicating an elevation of the ADC AUC. Conclusion Using helium-3 diffusion MR, elevated ADC values were detected in 30% of nonsmoking healthy subjects who had been regularly exposed to secondhand smoke, supporting the concept that, in susceptible individuals, secondhand smoke causes mild lung damage. J. Magn. Reson. Imaging 2014;39:77-84. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)77-84
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Magnetic Resonance Imaging
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2014


  • ADC
  • Helium-3 MRI
  • diffusion MRI
  • emphysema
  • secondhand smoke

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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