BACKGROUND:Limited data exist on the clinical presentation and non-invasive detection of liver fibrosis in adults with homozygous Z genotype alpha-1 antitrypsin (AAT) deficiency. AIMS:To compare demographic, biochemical, histological and imaging data of AAT deficient patients to normal-control and biopsy-proven non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) patients, and to assess the diagnostic accuracy of magnetic resonance elastography (MRE) in detecting fibrosis in AAT deficiency. METHODS:Study includes 33 participants, 11 per group, who underwent clinical research evaluation, liver biopsy (AAT and NAFLD groups), and MRE. Histological fibrosis was quantified using a modified Ishak 6-point scale and liver stiffness by MRE. Diagnostic performance of MRE in detecting fibrosis was assessed by receiver operating characteristic (ROC) analysis. RESULTS:Mean (±s.d.) of age and BMI of normal-control, AAT and NAFLD groups was 57 (±19), 57 (±18), and 57 (±13) years, and 22.7 (±2.5), 24.8 (±4.0) and 31.0 (±5.1) kg/m(2) respectively. Serum ALT [mean ± s.d.] was similar within normal-control [16.4 ± 4.0] and AAT groups [23.5 ± 10.8], but was significantly lower in AAT than NAFLD even after adjustment for stage of fibrosis (P < 0.05, P = 0.0172). For fibrosis detection, MRE-estimated stiffness had an area under the ROC curve of 0.90 (P < 0.0001); an MRE threshold of ≥3.0 kPa provided 88.9% accuracy, with 80% sensitivity and 100% specificity to detect presence of any fibrosis (stage ≥1). CONCLUSIONS:This pilot prospective study suggests magnetic resonance elastography may be accurate for identifying fibrosis in patients with alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency. Larger validation studies are warranted.