Purpose: We aimed to analyze the microstructure changes of knee cartilage in Juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) patients with active synovitis using quantitative magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) T2 mapping technique.
Materials and methods: This study included 23 JIA patients, who underwent bilateral knee joints by using a MR imaging protocol with the addition of a coronal T2 mapping. The femorotibial joint cartilage of participants was divided into eight subregions. Twenty-four (52.17%) of 46 joints (non-synovitis group), and twenty-two (47.83%) joint cases (active-synovitis group) were respectively calculated the T2 mean values for each subregion. Student's T test or Mann-Whitney U test was used to determine the statistical differences of each subregion in the non-synovitis and active-synovitis groups, which is also applied to define the distribution differences of cartilage subregion in femoral and tibial.
Results: The T2 mean values of the superficial and deep zone of cartilage for active synovitis group were respectively higher than those for non-synovitis group (P < 0.05), except for the deep zone of cartilage in lateral tibial plateau (LTP) (P > 0.05). The mean T2 values of the deep zone in femoral cartilage for active synovitis group were significantly higher than that of tibial (P < 0.05).
Conclusion: The finding of an increased average T2 values in active synovitis for JIA patients, especially in the deep cartilage of femoral condyle, which suggests that T2 values may reflect cartilage microstructure differences that occur in JIA. T2 mapping as an objective and quantitative method may allow for early detection of cartilage changes.
Keywords: Active synovitis; Articular cartilage; Juvenile idiopathic arthritis; T2 mapping.
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