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Arthritis Rheumatol. 2014 Jun;66(6):1517-24. doi: 10.1002/art.38518.

Delayed gadolinium-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging of medial tibiofemoral cartilage and its relationship with meniscal pathology: a longitudinal study using 3.0T magnetic resonance imaging.

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Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts; Hospital do Coração and Teleimagem, São Paulo, Brazil.



To evaluate the relationship between medial meniscal pathology and cartilage matrix status using delayed gadolinium-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging of cartilage (dGEMRIC) in medial tibiofemoral cartilage in a sample of middle-aged women.


A total of 148 women ages ≥40 years were included, and 3.0T MRI of the knee was performed at baseline and at 1 year. T2-weighted, fat-suppressed and 3-dimensional inversion recovery-prepared spoiled gradient-recalled echo sequences were acquired 90 minutes after gadolinium injection. Baseline medial meniscal pathology was scored on a scale of 0-3, where 0 = normal, 1 = intrasubstance meniscal signal change, 2 = single tears, and 3 = complex tears/maceration. The central medial femur, the medial tibial plateau, and the posterior medial femur were subjected to dGEMRIC at baseline and at 1 year. Analysis of covariance was used to examine whether baseline and 1-year dGEMRIC indices in the same regions were related to the severity of meniscal damage at baseline, using normal medial menisci (grade 0) as the reference.


Medial compartments with grade 3 lesions showed significantly lower dGEMRIC indices (less proteoglycan content) at the central medial femur region compared with compartments with normal menisci. Mean ± SEM differences in dGEMRIC indices between grade 3 and grade 0 menisci at the central medial femur were -119.1 ± 34.2 msec at baseline (P = 0.03) and -120.3 ± 35.2 msec at followup (P = 0.04).


High-grade damage of the medial meniscus showed significant associations with lower dGEMRIC indices. The dGEMRIC technique may be a useful tool in detecting early degenerative changes of cartilage when meniscal function is lost.

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