Validation and optimization of adiabatic T1ρ and T2ρ for quantitative imaging of articular cartilage at 3 T

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The aim of the present work was to validate and optimize adiabatic T1ρ and T2ρ mapping for in vivo measurements of articular cartilage at 3 Tesla (T).


Phantom and in vivo experiments were systematically performed on a 3T clinical system to evaluate the sequences using hyperbolic secant HS1 and HS4 pulses. R1ρ and R2ρ relaxation rates were studied as a function of agarose and chondroitin sulfate concentration and pulse duration. Optimal in vivo protocol was determined by imaging the articular cartilage of two volunteers and varying the sequence parameters, and successively applied in eight additional subjects. Reproducibility was assessed in phantoms and in vivo.


Relaxation rates depended on agarose and chondroitin sulfate concentration. The sequences were able to generate relaxation time maps with pulse lengths of 8 and 6 ms for HS1 and HS4, respectively. In vivo findings were in good agreement with the phantoms. The implemented adiabatic T1ρ and T2ρ sequences demonstrated regional variation in relaxation time maps of femorotibial cartilage. Reproducibility in phantoms and in vivo was good to excellent for both adiabatic T1ρ and T2ρ.


The findings indicate that sequences are suitable for quantitative in vivo assessment of articular cartilage at 3 T. Magn Reson Med 77:1265–1275, 2017. © 2016 International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine

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