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Osteoarthritis Cartilage. 2006 Oct;14(10):974-83. Epub 2006 May 26.

Proposal for a nomenclature for magnetic resonance imaging based measures of articular cartilage in osteoarthritis.

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Institute of Anatomy & Musculoskeletal Research, Paracelsus Private Medical University, Salzburg, Austria.



Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of articular cartilage has evolved to be an important tool in research on cartilage (patho)physiology and osteoarthritis (OA). MRI provides a wealth of novel and quantitative information, but there exists no commonly accepted terminology for reporting these metrics. The objective of this initiative was to propose a nomenclature for definitions and names to be used in scientific communications and to give recommendations as to which minimal methodological information should be provided when reporting MRI-based measures of articular cartilage in OA.


An international group of experts with direct experience in MRI measurement of cartilage morphology or composition reviewed the existing literature. Through an iterative process that included a meeting with a larger group of scientists and clinicians (December 2nd, 2004, Chicago, IL, USA), they discussed, refined, and proposed a nomenclature for MRI-based measures of articular cartilage in OA.


The group proposes a nomenclature that describes: (1) the anatomical location and (2) the structural feature being measured, each name consisting of a metric variable combined with a tissue label. In addition, the group recommends minimal methodological information that should be described.


Utilization of this nomenclature should facilitate communication within the scientific community. Further, the uniform adoption of comprehensive nomenclature to describe quantitative MRI- features of articular cartilage should strengthen epidemiological, clinical, and pharmacological studies in OA.

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