Degeneration of the cartilage matrix was already present in patients with meniscal tears, even though changes in the articular cartilage had not yet been detected. Use of T1p mapping to characterize the early relationship between cartilage degeneration and degenerative meniscal tears may provide clinical benefit, according to researchers.
The researchers examined 22 patients with degenerative meniscal tears in early stages of osteoarthritis (OA) and a control group of 19 healthy male subjects; all participants underwent MRI and radiograph exam.
Using MRI images, the researchers graded the patients’ meniscal lesions from 0 (normal meniscus) to grade 6 (macerated meniscal tear), and those with a grade of 2 to 6 were assigned to the meniscal tear group. Radiographs were used to assess patients’ femoro-tibial angles, and the Kellgren and Lawrence (KL) grading system was used to calculate the radiographic severity of OA.
The researchers divided patients’ femoral condyle into four 30° wedges, with each cartilage area further divided into superficial and deep layers with equal thickness. The tibial side was further divided into anterior and posterior segments, with each segment divided to have superficial and deep layers. The researchers then calculated the mean T1p values for each area.
Results showed the T1p values of the superficial and deep regions on the femoral side were significantly higher in the meniscal group than the control group, according to the researchers.
The researchers also observed that the meniscal tear group had a higher T1p value superficially in the tibial side for both the anterior and posterior regions. According to the researchers, significant differences were observed when patients in the meniscal tear group with KL grades of 0 or 1 were compared with the control group. – by Monica Jaramillo
Disclosure: This study was partly supported by the Grant of Japan Sports Medicine Foundation, 2013, and the Health and Labor Sciences Research on Regenerative Medicine for Clinical Application from the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare (grant number: 26220101).