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J Orthop Res. 2013 Nov;31(11):1765-71. doi: 10.1002/jor.22421. Epub 2013 Jul 5.

Contrast enhanced CT attenuation correlates with the GAG content of bovine meniscus.

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  • 1Department of Biomedical Engineering and Chemistry, Boston University, Boston, Massachusetts; Center for Advanced Orthopaedic Studies, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts.


We determined whether contrast-enhanced computed tomography (CECT) attenuation obtained using a µCT scanner correlated with the glycosaminoglycan (GAG) content and distribution in ex vivo bovine menisci. Bovine samples were immersed in different concentrations of the contrast agents CA4+ and Ioxaglate, and the µCT images were compared to Safranin-O staining. CA4+ and Ioxaglate diffusion-in kinetics and the correlation between their CECT attenuations and GAG content were investigated. CA4+ and Ioxaglate both reached steady state in the meniscal regions within 95 h, with tau values of 20.6 ± 3.98 and 25.9 ± 3.71 h (mean ± SD), respectively. Both agents diffused preferentially through the proximal and secondarily through the distal surface. The CA4+ CECT attenuation was strongly and positively correlated with the GAG content of the meniscus regions (R(2)  = 0.89, p < 0.001) at low concentrations (12 mgI/ml), while the Ioxaglate CECT attenuation was moderately and negatively correlated with the GAG content (R(2)  = 0.51, p = 0.03) at 60 mgI/ml. CECT can image ex vivo menisci, and the CA4+, compared to Ioxaglate, enhanced attenuation strongly correlates with the GAG content and distribution in bovine meniscus.

© 2013 Orthopaedic Research Society. Published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc.


GAG; bovine; computed tomography; meniscus; osteoarthritis

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