Topographical and sex variations in theT2 relaxation times of articular cartilage in the ankle joints of healthy young adults using 3.0T MRI

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To prospectively evaluate topographical and sex variations in the T2 relaxation values of tibiotalar cartilage (TTC) of healthy young adults.

Materials and Methods:

Sagittal 8-echo multiecho spin-echo T2 maps of TTC were acquired using a 3.0T MR in 25 male and 25 female healthy young adult participants. Quantitative measurements of T2 values in tibial cartilage (TBC) and talar cartilage (TLC) were obtained from three zones (anterior zone, AZ; middle zone, MZ; and posterior zone, PZ) and from four compartments (medial compartment, MC; midmedial compartment, MMC; midlateral compartment, MLC; and lateral compartment, LC) of TBC and TLC in the sagittal plane.


The T2 values of AZ (for TBC, 29.31 msec; for TLC, 35.81 msec) and MZ (for TBC, 28.56 msec; for TLC, 36.12 msec) in males were significantly higher than those in females (for AZ of TBC, 26.99 msec; for AZ of TLC, 33.56 msec; for MZ of TBC, 25.88 msec; for MZ of TLC, 31.85 msec) (for TBC, AZ, P = 0.009, MZ, P = 0.002; for TLC, AZ, P = 0.047, MZ, P = 0.001). Except for MMC and MLC of TBC (MMC, P = 0.02, MLC, P = 0.03), TTC T2 values did not differ significantly between these compartment in either group (for TBC, MC, P = 0.27, LC, P = 0.37; for TLC, MC, P = 0.26, MMC, P = 0.08, MLC, P = 0.30, LC, P = 0.10).


We found significant sex and topographic variations among TTC T2 values of healthy young adults. Acknowledgment of the significant topographical and sex variations in cartilage T2 values may minimize misinterpretation of ankle joint TTC T2 mapping data. J. Magn. Reson. Imaging 2016;43:455–462.

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