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J Orthop Res. 2020 Mar 4. doi: 10.1002/jor.24644. [Epub ahead of print]

Multiparametric MR imaging reveals early cartilage degeneration at 2 and 8 weeks after ACL transection in a rabbit model.

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Research Unit of Medical Imaging, Physics and Technology, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland.
Medical Research Center Oulu, University of Oulu and Oulu University Hospital, Oulu, Finland.
Department of Applied Physics, University of Eastern Finland, Kuopio, Finland.
Human Performance Laboratory, Faculty of Kinesiology, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
Department of Diagnostic Radiology, Oulu University Hospital, Oulu, Finland.


In this study, the rabbit model with anterior cruciate ligament transection (ACLT) was used to investigate early degenerative changes in cartilage using multiparametric quantitative magnetic resonance imaging (qMRI). ACLT was surgically induced in the knees of skeletally mature New Zealand White rabbits (n = 14). ACL transected and contralateral knee compartments-medial femur, lateral femur, medial tibia, and lateral tibia-were harvested 2 (n = 8) and 8 weeks (n = 6) postsurgery. Twelve age-matched nonoperated rabbits served as control. qMRI was conducted at 9.4 T and included relaxation times T1 , T2 , continuous-wave T (CWT ), adiabatic T (AdT ), adiabatic T (AdT ), and relaxation along a fictitious field (TRAFF ). For reference, quantitative histology and biomechanical measurements were carried out. Posttraumatic changes were primarily noted in the superficial half of the cartilage. Prolonged T1 , T2 , CWT , and AdT were observed in the lateral femur 2 and 8 weeks post-ACLT, compared with the corresponding control and contralateral groups (P < .05). Collagen orientation was significantly altered in the lateral femur at 2 weeks post-ACLT compared with the corresponding control group. In the medial femur, all the studied relaxation time parameters, except TRAFF , were increased 8 weeks post-ACLT, as compared with the corresponding contralateral and control groups (P < .05). Similarly, significant proteoglycan loss was observed in the medial femur at 8 weeks following surgery (P < .05). Multiparametric MRI demonstrated early degenerative changes primarily in the superficial cartilage with T1 , T2 , CWT , and AdT sensitive to cartilage changes at 2 weeks after surgery.


ACLT; MRI; cartilage; osteoarthritis; rabbit model


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