Imaging biopsy composition at ACL reconstruction.
PURPOSE: Early-stage osteoarthritis (OA) includes glycosaminoglycan (GAG) loss and collagen disruption that cannot be seen on morphological magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). T1ρ MRI is a measurement that probes the low-frequency rate of exchange between protons of free water and those from water associated with macromolecules in the cartilage's extracellular matrix. While it has been hypothesized that increased water mobility resulting from early osteoarthritic changes cause elevated T1ρ MRI values, there remain several unknown mechanisms influencing T1ρ measurements in cartilage. The purpose of this work was to relate histological and biochemical metrics directly measured from osteochondral biopsies and fluid specimens with quantitative MRI-detected changes of in vivo cartilage composition. PATIENTS AND METHODS: Six young patients were enrolled an average of 41 days after acute anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) rupture. Femoral trochlear groove osteochondral biopsies, serum, and synovial fluid were harvested during ACL reconstruction to complement a presurgery quantitative MRI study (T1ρ, T2, delayed gadolinium-enhanced MRI of cartilage [dGEMRIC] relaxation times). A high-resolution MRI scan of the excised osteochondral biopsy was also collected. Analyses of in vivo T1ρ images were compared with ex vivo T1ρ imaging, GAG assays and histological GAG distribution in the osteochondral biopsies, and direct measures of bone and cartilage turnover markers and "OA marker" 3B3 in serum and synovial fluid samples. CONCLUSION: T1ρ relaxation times in patients with a torn ACL were elevated from normal, indicating changes consistent with general fluid effusion after blunt joint trauma. Increased chondrogenic progenitor cell (CPC) production of chondroprotective lubricin may relate to cartilage surface disruption by blunt trauma and CPC amplification of joint inflammation. Disparity between ex vivo and matched in vivo MRI of trochlear cartilage suggests MRI signal differences that may be related to the synovial fluid environment. T1ρ is emerging as a promising MRI biomarker to relate noninvasive measures of whole-joint condition and cartilage composition to direct measures of cartilage changes in the acute phase of joint injuries.
Pedersen, DR; Martin, JA; Thedens, DR; Klocke, NF; Roberts, NH; Goetz, JE; Amendola, A
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