Utility of delayed gadolinium-enhanced MRI (dGEMRIC) for qualitative evaluation of articular cartilage of patellofemoral joint.

Knee surgery, sports traumatology, arthroscopy : official journal of the ESSKA

PubMedID: 16395564

Nojiri T, Watanabe N, Namura T, Narita W, Ikoma K, Suginoshita T, Takamiya H, Komiyama H, Ito H, Nishimura T, Kubo T. Utility of delayed gadolinium-enhanced MRI (dGEMRIC) for qualitative evaluation of articular cartilage of patellofemoral joint. Knee Surg Sports Traumatol Arthrosc. 2006;14(8):718-23.
Delayed gadolinium-enhanced MRI of cartilage (dGEMRIC) was used for the measurement of relative proteoglycan depletion of articular cartilage in the patellofemoral (PF) joint following a proprietary protocol, which was compared with the X-ray images, proton density weighted MR images (PDWI) and arthroscopic findings. The study examined 30 knees. The ages ranged from 16 to 74 (average 40.3) years. The Gd-DTPA(2-)containing contrast medium was used in a single dose. The subjects were made to exercise the knee joint for 10 min; and MR images were taken 2 h after intravenous injection of contrast medium. T1-calculated images were produced and the region of interest (ROI) was set as follows. (1) ROI1: entire articular cartilage in a slice through the center of the patella. (2) ROI2: low signal region in T1-calculated images, which were set in a blind fashion by two observers. (3) ROI3: articular cartilage on one side that includes ROI2 where low signal region were detected (medial or lateral). ROI3 was set to examine the contrast of ROI2 with surrounding articular cartilage. The average T1 values of ROI1 was 393.5+/-33.6 ms for radiographic grade 0 and 361.3+/-11.1 ms for grade I, which showed a significant difference (P=0.036). The T1 value of ROI2 was 351.6+/-28.2 ms for grade I, 361.9+/-38.3 ms for grade II, 362.1+/-67.7 ms for grade III, and 297.8+/-54.1 ms for grade IV according to arthroscopic Outerbridge classification. All cases, that demonstrated decrease of T1 values on dGEMRIC (ROI2), showed abnormal arthroscopic or direct viewing findings. The ratio (ROI3/ROI2) in cases of only slight damage classified as Outerbridge grade I (6 cases) was an average of 1.04+/-0.02 and was 1.0 or greater in all cases, thereby indicating well-defined contrast with the surrounding cartilage. The diagnosis of damage in articular cartilage was possible in all 16 cases with radiographic K-L grade I on dGEMRIC, while the intensity changes were not found in 10 of 16 cases on PDWI. The dGEMRIC with a single-dose would be useful on a diagnosis of the area demonstrating early relative proteoglycan depletion in the articular cartilage of the PF joint prior to any discernible changes in the subchondral bone on X-ray images and exceeds to plain MR images for examining deterioration of articular cartilage.