MRI rotating frame relaxation measurements for articular cartilage assessment

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In the present work we introduced two MRI rotating frame relaxation methods, namely adiabatic T and Relaxation Along a Fictitious Field (RAFF), along with an inversion-prepared Magnetization Transfer (MT) protocol for assessment of articular cartilage. Given the inherent sensitivity of rotating frame relaxation methods to slow molecular motions that are relevant in cartilage, we hypothesized that adiabatic T and RAFF would have higher sensitivity to articular cartilage degradation as compared to laboratory frame T2 and MT. To test this hypothesis, a proteoglycan depletion model was used. Relaxation time measurements were performed at 0 and 48. h in 10 bovine patellar specimens, 5 of which were treated with trypsin and 5 untreated controls were stored under identical conditions in isotonic saline for 48. h. Relaxation times measured at 48. h were longer than those measured at 0. h in both groups. The changes in T2 and MT relaxation times after 48. h were approximately 3 times larger in the trypsin treated specimens as compared to the untreated group, whereas increases of adiabatic T and RAFF were 4 to 5 fold larger. Overall, these findings demonstrate a higher sensitivity of adiabatic T and RAFF to the trypsin-induced changes in bovine patellar cartilage as compared to the commonly used T2 and MT. Since adiabatic T and RAFF are advantageous for human applications as compared to standard continuous-wave T methods, adiabatic T and RAFF are promising tools for assessing cartilage degradation in clinical settings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1537-1543
Number of pages7
JournalMagnetic Resonance Imaging
Issue number9
StatePublished - Nov 2013

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Financial support: ISMRM seed grant 2009 ~ 2010 (Dr. Ling), NIH grants P41 RR008079 , P41 EB015894 , R01NS061866 (Dr. Michaeli), R21NS059813 (Dr. Michaeli), NIH grant KL2 RR033182 (Dr. Mangia) to the University of Minnesota Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI).


  • Adiabatic pulses
  • Cartilage
  • Magnetization transfer
  • RAFF
  • Rotating frame relaxation
  • Trypsin


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