MR imaging of articular cartilage physiology

Magn Reson Imaging Clin N Am. 2011 May;19(2):249-82. doi: 10.1016/j.mric.2011.02.010.


The newer magnetic resonance (MR) imaging methods can give insights into the initiation, progression, and eventual treatment of osteoarthritis. Sodium imaging is specific for changes in proteoglycan (PG) content without the need for an exogenous contrast agent. T1ρ imaging is sensitive to early PG depletion. Delayed gadolinium-enhanced MR imaging has high resolution and sensitivity. T2 mapping is straightforward and is sensitive to changes in collagen and water content. Ultrashort echo time MR imaging examines the osteochondral junction. Magnetization transfer provides improved contrast between cartilage and fluid. Diffusion-weighted imaging may be a valuable tool in postoperative imaging.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anisotropy
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Cartilage Diseases / physiopathology
  • Cartilage, Articular / chemistry
  • Cartilage, Articular / physiology*
  • Contrast Media
  • Humans
  • Knee Injuries / physiopathology
  • Knee Joint / physiopathology
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Osteoarthritis, Knee / physiopathology
  • Stress, Mechanical


  • Contrast Media