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Association of changes in delayed gadolinium-enhanced MRI of cartilage (dGEMRIC) with changes in cartilage thickness in the medial tibiofemoral compartment of the knee: a 2 year follow-up study using 3.0 T MRI

Abstract

Objective To determine the association between changes in the delayed gadolinium-enhanced MRI of cartilage (dGEMRIC) index over 2 years as a measure of cartilage proteoglycan concentration, with changes in cartilage thickness in the medial tibiofemoral compartment of knees in middle-aged women.

Methods One hundred and forty-eight women (one knee for each subject) aged ≥40 years were included. 3.0 T MR images of the knee were acquired at baseline, 1 year and 2 years. Three-dimensional (3D) spoiled gradient recalled echo (SPGR) sequences (for cartilage thickness) and 3D inversion recovery-prepared SPGR sequences after dGEMRIC were acquired. Segmentation was performed in the medial central (weight-bearing) femur and tibia to determine cartilage proteoglycan concentration and thickness. The association of change in the dGEMRIC indices between baseline and 1-year follow-up with (a) concomitant changes in cartilage thickness and (b) change in cartilage thickness between 1 and 2 years was assessed using linear regression.

Results In the whole-sample model, a decrease in dGEMRIC indices over time at the central medial femur significantly predicted an increase in cartilage thickness at both the central medial femur (p=0.008) and the medial tibia (p=0.04).

Conclusions A decrease in dGEMRIC indices was associated with an increase in cartilage thickness in the medial compartment. Our results suggest that an increase in cartilage thickness may also be related to a decrease in proteoglycan concentration, which may represent swelling of cartilage in early stages of degeneration.

  • Knee Osteoarthritis
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Osteoarthritis
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