Magnetic resonance (MR) transverse relaxation time (T2) mapping has been frequently used to evaluate collagen content and its organization. In this study, MR T2 mapping, using the multi-slice, multi-echo Carr-Purcell-Meiboom-Gill technique, was performed in volunteers and patients after matrix-associated autologous chondrocyte transplantation (MACT) under unloading and loading conditions with an MR-compatible compression device. In the volunteer study, a statistically significant decrease in the cartilage MR T2 values was observed during the loading phase when compared to the initial load-free measurement. During the recovery period, a statistically significant increase in the T2 values was found in the central superficial layer (p=0.001), the central deep layer (p=0.005), the posterior deep layer (p=0.001), and in the tibia superficial layer (p=0.01) when compared to measurements under loading. In patients after MACT, during unloading or loading conditions, statistically significant changes in T2 values were observed in the transplant deep zone (p=0.005), in the posterior deep zone (p=0.004), and in the tibia superficial zone (p=0.012). The results of this study show that MR T2 mapping under loading conditions may provide additional information about cartilage repair tissue composition and organization during the postoperative follow-up, and may help to evaluate the efficacy of cartilage-repair surgery techniques.
- 3T T Mapping
- Articular cartilage
- Autologous chondrocyte transplantation
- In vivo cartilage loading