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Sci Rep. 2017 Aug 29;7(1):9606. doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-10053-2.

Orientation anisotropy of quantitative MRI relaxation parameters in ordered tissue.

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Department of Applied Physics, University of Eastern Finland, POB 1627, FI-70211, Kuopio, Finland.
Research Unit of Medical Imaging, Physics and Technology, University of Oulu, POB 5000, FI-90014, Oulu, Finland.
Medical Research Center Oulu, Oulu University Hospital and University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland.
Department of Diagnostic Radiology, Oulu University Hospital, Oulu, Finland.
Department of Applied Physics, University of Eastern Finland, POB 1627, FI-70211, Kuopio, Finland.


In highly organized tissues, such as cartilage, tendons and white matter, several quantitative MRI parameters exhibit dependence on the orientation of the tissue constituents with respect to the main imaging magnetic field (B0). In this study, we investigated the dependence of multiple relaxation parameters on the orientation of articular cartilage specimens in the B0. Bovine patellar cartilage-bone samples (n = 4) were investigated ex vivo at 9.4 Tesla at seven different orientations, and the MRI results were compared with polarized light microscopy findings on specimen structure. Dependences of T2 and continuous wave (CW)-T relaxation times on cartilage orientation were confirmed. T2 (and T2*) had the highest sensitivity to orientation, followed by TRAFF2 and adiabatic T. The highest dependence was seen in the highly organized deep cartilage and the smallest in the least organized transitional layer. Increasing spin-lock amplitude decreased the orientation dependence of CW-T. T1 was found practically orientation-independent and was closely followed by adiabatic T. The results suggest that T1 and adiabatic T should be preferred for orientation-independent quantitative assessment of organized tissues such as articular cartilage. On the other hand, based on the literature, parameters with higher orientation anisotropy appear to be more sensitive to degenerative changes in cartilage.

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