Age, Gender, and Skeletal Variation in Bone Marrow Composition: A Preliminary Study at 3.0Tesla

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Purpose:To evaluate the efficacy of MR Spectroscopy (MRS) at 3.0 Tesla for the assessment of normal bone marrow composition and assess the variation in terms of age, gender, and skeletal site.Materials and Methods:A total of 16 normal subjects (aged between eight and 57 years) were investigated on a 3.0 Tesla GE Signa system. To investigate axial and peripheral skeleton differences, non-water-suppressed spectra were acquired from single voxels in the calcaneus and lumbar spine. In addition, spectra were acquired at multiple vertebral bodies to assess variation within the lumbar spine. Data was also correlated with bone mineral density (BMD) measured in six subjects using dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA).Results:Fat content was an order of magnitude greater in the heel compared to the spine. An age-related increase was demonstrated in the spine with values greater in men compared to female subjects. Significant trends in vertebral bodies within the same subjects were also shown, with fat content increasing L5 > L1. Population coefficient of variation (CV) was greater for fat fraction (FF) compared to BMD.Conclusion:Significant normal variations of marrow composition have been demonstrated, which provide important data for the future interpretation of patient investigations.

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