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Quantitative analysis of the ACL and PCL using T1rho and T2 relaxation time mapping: an exploratory, cross-sectional comparison between OA and healthy control knees.

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Ranmuthu, Chanuka DS 
MacKay, James W 
Crowe, Victoria A 
Kessler, Dimitri A 


BACKGROUND: Quantitative magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) methods such as T1rho and T2 mapping are sensitive to changes in tissue composition, however their use in cruciate ligament assessment has been limited to studies of asymptomatic populations or patients with posterior cruciate ligament tears only. The aim of this preliminary study was to compare T1rho and T2 relaxation times of the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) between subjects with mild-to-moderate knee osteoarthritis (OA) and healthy controls. METHODS: A single knee of 15 patients with mild-to-moderate knee OA (Kellgren-Lawrence grades 2-3) and of 6 age-matched controls was imaged using a 3.0 T MRI. Three-dimensional (3D) fat-saturated spoiled gradient recalled-echo images were acquired for morphological assessment and T1ρ- and T2-prepared pseudo-steady-state 3D fast spin echo images for compositional assessment of the cruciate ligaments. Manual segmentation of whole ACL and PCL, as well as proximal / middle / distal thirds of both ligaments was carried out by two readers using ITK-SNAP and mean relaxation times were recorded. Variation between thirds of the ligament were assessed using repeated measures ANOVAs and differences in these variations between groups using a Kruskal-Wallis test. Inter- and intra-rater reliability were assessed using intraclass correlation coefficients (ICCs). RESULTS: In OA knees, both T1rho and T2 values were significantly higher in the distal ACL when compared to the rest of the ligament with the greatest differences in T1rho (e.g. distal mean = 54.5 ms, proximal = 47.0 ms, p < 0.001). The variation of T2 values within the PCL was lower in OA knees (OA: distal vs middle vs proximal mean = 28.5 ms vs 29.1 ms vs 28.7 ms, p = 0.748; Control: distal vs middle vs proximal mean = 26.4 ms vs 32.7 ms vs 33.3 ms, p = 0.009). ICCs were excellent for the majority of variables. CONCLUSION: T1rho and T2 mapping of the cruciate ligaments is feasible and reliable. Changes within ligaments associated with OA may not be homogeneous. This study is an important step forward in developing a non-invasive, radiological biomarker to assess the ligaments in diseased human populations in-vivo.



Anterior cruciate ligament, Osteoarthritis, Posterior cruciate ligament, T1rho mapping, T2 mapping, Anterior Cruciate Ligament, Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injuries, Cartilage, Articular, Cross-Sectional Studies, Humans, Knee Joint, Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Posterior Cruciate Ligament, Reproducibility of Results

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BMC Musculoskelet Disord

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Springer Science and Business Media LLC


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Declarations Ethics approval and consent to participate This study was approved by the East of England Cambridge Central Research Ethics Committee and written informed consent was given by all subjects included in the study. All methods were carried out in accordance with relevant guidelines and regulations. Consent for publication Not Applicable Availability of data and materials The datasets generated and analysed during the current study are not publicly available due to unattained permission from participants and research ethics committee but could be made available from JWM (email: Competing interests JWM, DAK and JDK acknowledge funding support from GlaxoSmithKline for their studentships and fellowships, respectively. JWM is an employee of AstraZeneca. CDSR, VAC and SMM have no competing interests to declare. Acknowledgements The Addenbrooke's Hospital Magnetic Resonance Imaging and Spectroscopy (MRIS) staff are thanked for their help with arranging and conducting the study MRI examinations. We also acknowledge the support of the Addenbrooke's Charitable Trust and the National Institute for Health Research Cambridge Biomedical Research Centre. The views expressed are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the NHS, the NIHR or the Department of Health and Social Care. Funding The study was funded by an Experimental Medicine Initiative PhD studentship from the University of Cambridge [grant number RG81329] and by GlaxoSmithKline [grant number RG87552]. Authors' contributions Writing of original draft manuscript: CDSR. Study design and coordination: CDSR, JWM, JDK and SMM. Data acquisition: JWM and JDK. Data curation, analysis and interpretation: CDSR, JWM, VAC, JDK, DAK and SMM. Statistical analysis: CDSR and JWM. Review and editing of manuscript: JWM, VAC, JDK, DAK and SMM. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.