Biochemical and histologic data have validated the technique of delayed gadolinium-enhanced MRI, in which the T(1) values of cartilage after penetration of Gd(DTPA)2-allow assessment of the glycosaminoglycan (GAG) component of articular cartilage. This work describes the factors that have been found to be important for the practical implementation of the technique: 1) Exercise immediately after intravenous contrast administration was necessary for effective penetration of the contrast into the articular cartilage; 2) double-dose contrast was better than single-dose; 3) after contrast administration, a time window of 30-90 min for the hip, and 2-3 hr for all compartments of the knee proved to be appropriate for assessing articular cartilage; and 4) in some cases of hypointensities in the subchondral patellar bone, decreased penetration of the contrast agent into cartilage from bone was found. With the protocol described, ROIs on T(1) images were reproducible within 15% on two separate imaging sessions, and initial clinical studies demonstrated the possible applications of the technique. Magn Reson Med 45:36-41, 2001.
Copyright 2001 Wiley-Liss, Inc.