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NMR Biomed. 2020 Mar 5:e4288. doi: 10.1002/nbm.4288. [Epub ahead of print]

Immersion of Achilles tendon in phosphate-buffered saline influences T1 and T2 * relaxation times: An ex vivo study.

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Medical Physics Group, Institute of Diagnostic and Interventional Radiology, Jena University Hospital, Friedrich Schiller University Jena, Jena, Germany.
Julius Wolff Institute, Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Berlin, Germany.
Berlin Institute of Health Center for Regenerative Therapies (BIH), Berlin, Germany.
Berlin-Brandenburg School for Regenerative Therapies, Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Berlin, Germany.
Michael Stifel Center Jena for Data-driven and Simulation Science, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena, Germany.


Robust mapping of relaxation parameters in ex vivo tissues is based on hydration and therefore requires control of the tissue treatment to ensure tissue integrity and consistent measurement conditions over long periods of time. One way to maintain the hydration of ex vivo tendon tissue is to immerse the samples in a buffer solution. To this end, various buffer solutions have been proposed; however, many appear to influence the tissue relaxation times, especially with prolonged exposure. In this work, ovine Achilles tendon tissue was used as a model to investigate the effect of immersion in phosphate-buffered saline (PBS) and the effects on the T1 and T2 * relaxation times. Ex vivo samples were measured at 0 (baseline), 30 and 67 hours after immersion in PBS. Ultrashort echo time (UTE) imaging was performed using variable flip angle and echo train-shifted multi-echo imaging for T1 and T2 * estimation, respectively. Compared with baseline, both T1 and T2 * relaxation time constants increased significantly after 30 hours of immersion. T2 * continued to show a significant increase between 30 and 67 hours. Both T1 and T2 * tended to approach saturation at 67 hours. These results exemplify the relevance of stringently controlled tissue preparation and preservation techniques, both before and during MRI experiments.


Achilles tendon; ex vivo; phosphate-buffered saline; relaxation time constants; tissue swelling; ultrashort echo time


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