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J Magn Reson Imaging. 2001 Feb;13(2):263-8.

Age- and sex-specific differences in the 1H-spectrum of vertebral bone marrow.

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Department of Diagnostic Radiology, University of Cologne, D-50924 Köln, Germany.


Correct interpretation of 1H magnetic resonance (MR) studies of the red vertebral bone marrow in patients with disorders of the hematopoietic system requires knowledge of the dependence of the proton spectrum on age and sex. Infiltration of malignant cells causes a decreased red bone marrow fat signal, which is reversed upon successful treatment. The aim of this study was to establish a database of normal water/fat relations from a large group of volunteers. In all, 154 healthy volunteers from 11 to 95 years of age were examined using a 1.5-T MR system (ACS-NT, Philips). A volume of 2-8 ml in the center of a normal vertebral body was selected for spectroscopy using the PRESS sequence without water suppression (TR/TE 2 sec/40 msec). Signal intensities and T2 times of lipid and water resonances were determined. The relative fat signal intensity was calculated corrected for T2 relaxation. The relative proportion of protons in the fat signal increases with age from 24% in the age group 11-20 years to 54% in the group > or = 61 years. The proportion of fat in the vertebral bone marrow in female subjects is less than that in male subjects in the same age group (statistically significant at P < or = 0.01). In the central age group between 31 and 50 years, the difference is largest, at 12%; in the youngest and oldest age group this difference is small. T2 times are neither age nor sex dependent.

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