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Vet Surg. 2008 Feb;37(2):166-77. doi: 10.1111/j.1532-950X.2007.00363.x.

Osteophytosis, subchondral bone sclerosis, joint effusion and soft tissue thickening in canine experimental stifle osteoarthritis: comparison between 1.5 T magnetic resonance imaging and computed radiography.

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1
Companion Animal Research Group, Département de Sciences Cliniques, Faculté de Médecine Vétérinaire, Université de Montréal, Saint-Hyacinthe, Québec, Canada. marc-andre.danjou@umontreal.ca

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To compare use of 1.5 T magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and computed radiography (CR) for morphologic and temporal evaluation of osteophytosis, subchondral sclerosis, joint effusion, and synovial thickening in experimentally induced canine stifle osteoarthritis (OA).

STUDY DESIGN:

Prospective study.

ANIMALS:

Dogs (n=8).

METHODS:

CR (mediolateral and caudocranial projections) and MRI (dorsal 3D T1-weighted gradient echo, sagittal 3D SPGR and T2-weighted fast spin echo with fat saturation) were performed at baseline (n=8) and at week 4 (n=5), week 8 (n=8), and week 26 (n=5) after cranial cruciate ligament transection. Osteophytosis, subchondral bone sclerosis, and joint effusion were scored on CR and MRI, and synovial thickening on MRI.

RESULTS:

MRI was more sensitive than CR for detection of osteophytosis and could better discriminate joint effusion from soft tissue thickening, although scores for these variables strongly correlated between modalities (rho=0.94 [osteophytosis] and 0.80 [effusion]; P<.001). Scores for subchondral bone sclerosis also correlated (rho=0.54, P<.004), although this variable may have been over interpreted on CR. Joint effusion and synovial thickening peaked at week 8, before partially regressing at week 26. Conversely, osteophytosis and sclerosis progressed semi-linearly over 26 weeks.

CONCLUSION:

MRI is more sensitive than radiography in assessing onset and progression of osteophytosis in canine experimental stifle OA and provides enhanced discrimination between joint effusion and synovial thickening.

CLINICAL RELEVANCE:

MRI is as a more powerful imaging modality that should be increasingly used in animals to assess the joint related effects of disease-modifying OA drugs.

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