Integrating carthage-specific T1rho MRI into knee clinic diagnostic imaging.
With a rise in post-traumatic osteoarthritis, OA no longer is considered just a disease of aging. The 'gold standard' for OA diagnosis has long been planar radiographs for visualizing osteophytes, joint space narrowing and sclerotic changes. A typical magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) protocol will acquire proton density, T1, T2, and fat suppressed images that give a comprehensive picture of morphologic changes associated with injury and subsequent degenerative processes. However, the earliest events of cartilage degeneration occur within the tissue, before measureable changes in morphology. MRI methods have been proposed to display and quantify changes in composition and integrity of such elements of cartilage extracellular matrix as collagen and proteoglycan (PG) content in vivo. T1ρ the spin-lattice relaxation time in the rotating frame, has come to the forefront for visualizing water proton-PG interactions in articular cartilage. The purpose of this T1ρ MRI study was to define an objective femoral condyle-specific registration method, in which zone-dependent cartilage compositional changes could be assessed from the bone outward through the existing cartilage, at pre-ACL reconstruction and subsequent follow-up times, when the loss of thickness to surface-down cartilage erosion might occur later in the OA pathogenesis. Additionally, this study explores the effects of reducing the number of spin-lock times on the absolute T1ρ relaxation times; a major parameter in expanding T1ρ coverage to the whole joint while satisfying clinical imaging time and specific absorption rate (SAR) safety constraints. The developed image analysis tools serve as the first step toward quantitative functional assessment of cartilage health with noninvasive T1ρ MRI, which has the potential to become an important new tool for the early diagnosis of cartilage degeneration following ACL trauma.
Pedersen, DR; Klocke, NF; Thedens, DR; Martin, JA; Williams, GN; Amendola, A
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