Subregional laminar cartilage MR spin-spin relaxation times (T2) in osteoarthritic knees with and without medial femorotibial cartilage loss - data from the Osteoarthritis Initiative (OAI)

Osteoarthritis Cartilage. 2017 Aug;25(8):1313-1323. doi: 10.1016/j.joca.2017.03.013. Epub 2017 Mar 27.


Objective: To explore whether subregional laminar femorotibial cartilage spin-spin relaxation time (T2) is associated with subsequent radiographic progression and cartilage loss and/or whether one-year change in subregional laminar femorotibial cartilage T2 is associated with concurrent progression in knees with established radiographic OA (ROA).

Methods: In this case-control study, Osteoarthritis Initiative (OAI) knees with medial femorotibial progression were selected based on one-year loss in both quantitative cartilage thickness Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and radiographic joint space width (JSW). Non-progressor knees were matched by sex, Body mass index (BMI), baseline Kellgren-Lawrence-grade (2/3), and pain. Baseline and one-year follow-up superficial and deep cartilage T2 was analyzed in 16 femorotibial subregions using multi-echo spin-echo MRI.

Results: 37 knees showed medial femorotibial progression whereas 37 matched controls had no medial or lateral compartment progression. No statistically significant baseline differences between progressor and non-progressor knees in medial femorotibial cartilage T2 were observed in the superficial (48.9 ± 3.0 ms; 95% CI: [47.9, 49.9] vs 47.8 ± 3.6 ms; 95% CI: [46.6, 49.0], P = 0.07) or deep cartilage layer (40.8 ± 3.6 ms; 95% CI: [39.5, 42.0] vs 40.1 ± 4.7 ms; 95% CI: [38.5, 41.6], P = 0.29). Concurrent T2 change was more pronounced in the deep than the superficial cartilage layer. In the medial femorotibial compartment (MFTC), longitudinal change was greater in the deep layer of progressor than non-progressor knees (1.8 ± 4.5 ms; 95% CI: [0.3, 3.3] vs -0.2 ± 1.9 ms; 95% CI: [-0.8, 0.5], P = 0.02), whereas no difference was observed in the superficial layer.

Conclusion: Medial compartment cartilage T2 did not appear to be a strong prognostic factor for subsequent structural progression in the same compartment of knees with established ROA, when appropriately controlling for covariates. Yet, deep layer T2 change in the medial compartment occurred concurrent with medial femorotibial progression.

Trial registration: NCT00080171.

Keywords: Cartilage; Knee; Osteoarthritis; Progression; Spin–spin (T2) relaxation time.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Cartilage Diseases / pathology*
  • Cartilage, Articular / pathology*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Female
  • Femur
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Osteoarthritis, Knee / pathology*
  • Prognosis
  • Tibia

Associated data