Assessing patterns of T2/T1rho change in grade 1 cartilage lesions of the distal femur using an angle/layer dependent approach


      • T1rho is more sensitive than T2 for early cartilage degeneration.
      • Early degenerative cartilage lesions can demonstrate various patterns of T2 and T1rho changes.



      To assess changes in the patterns of T2 and T1rho values within grade 1 cartilage lesions of osteoarthritis (OA) patients compared to healthy controls.

      Materials and methods

      Twenty healthy knees and 25 OA knees were examined on a 3 T scanner. Areas of signal heterogeneity within the cartilage of the distal femur were identified using fat suppressed proton density-weighted imagines. T2 and T1rho values in each OA patient with grade 1 lesions were compared to average T2 and T1rho values of the corresponding areas in healthy subjects.


      A total of 28 areas including grade 1 lesion were identified. Compared to normal cartilage, the majority of grade 1 cartilage lesions demonstrated either no significant change or a statistically significant increase in both T2 values (18/28, 64%) and T1rho values (23/28, 82%). Compared to T2, T1rho demonstrated a greater proportion of statistically significantly higher values in OA patients than those from the normal controls. However, T2 and T1rho values in grade 1 lesions can be decreased, or demonstrate mixed patterns compared to those in healthy cartilage.


      Our results suggest that early degenerative cartilage lesions can demonstrate various patterns of T2 and T1rho changes.


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