T2* mapping and delayed gadolinium-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging in cartilage (dGEMRIC) of humeral articular cartilage--a histologically controlled study

J Shoulder Elbow Surg. 2015 Oct;24(10):1644-52. doi: 10.1016/j.jse.2015.03.016. Epub 2015 May 7.


Background: Cartilage biochemical imaging modalities that include the magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) techniques of T2* mapping (sensitive to water content and collagen fiber network) and delayed gadolinium-enhanced MRI of cartilage (dGEMRIC, sensitive to the glycosaminoglycan content) can be effective instruments for early diagnosis and reliable follow-up of cartilage damage. The purpose of this study was to provide T2* mapping and dGEMRIC values in various histologic grades of cartilage degeneration in humeral articular cartilage.

Methods: A histologically controlled in vitro study was conducted that included human humeral head cartilage specimens with various histologic grades of cartilage degeneration. High-resolution, 3-dimensional (3D) T2* mapping and dGEMRIC were performed that enabled the correlation of MRI and histology data. Cartilage degeneration was graded according to the Mankin score, which evaluates surface morphology, cellularity, toluidine blue staining, and tidemark integrity. SPSS software was used for statistical analyses.

Results: Both MRI mapping values decreased significantly (P < .001) with increasing cartilage degeneration. Spearman rank analysis revealed a significant correlation (correlation coefficients ranging from -0.315 to 0.784; P < .001) between the various histologic parameters and the T2* and T1Gd mapping values.

Conclusion: This study demonstrates the feasibility of 3D T2* and dGEMRIC to identify various histologic grades of cartilage damage of humeral articular cartilage. With regard to the advantages of these mapping techniques with high image resolution and the ability to accomplish a 3D biochemically sensitive imaging, we consider that these imaging techniques can make a positive contribution to the currently evolving science and practice of cartilage biochemical imaging.

Keywords: MRI; T2*; cartilage; dGEMRIC; histology; shoulder.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cartilage Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Cartilage Diseases / pathology
  • Cartilage, Articular / injuries
  • Cartilage, Articular / pathology*
  • Contrast Media
  • Gadolinium
  • Humans
  • Imaging, Three-Dimensional / methods
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Middle Aged
  • Shoulder Joint*
  • Young Adult


  • Contrast Media
  • Gadolinium