Acute and chronic nephropathies are responsible for morphological and functional changes of the kidney. Imaging techniques today play a minor role in assessing these diseases because the main changes are microscopic and functional. Currently, standard imaging techniques offer mainly macroscopic morphological information, such as kidney size and corticomedullary differentiation (CMD), but functional information is obtained by scintigraphic techniques.

Recent developments in the magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) systems, providing higher signal-to-noise ratio and higher spatial and/or temporal resolution, and the specific MR contrast agents have the potential to offer morphological and functional information that are relevant for establishing the diagnosis, determining the prognosis, and monitoring response to treatment of various renal diseases.

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