PurposeSimultaneous positron emission tomography-magnetic resonance imaging (PET-MRI) is an emerging technology providing both anatomical and functional images without increasing the scan time. Compared to the traditional PET/computed tomography imaging, it also exposes the patient to significantly less radiation and provides better anatomical images as MRI provides superior soft tissue characterization. Using PET-MRI, we aim to study interactions between cartilage composition and bone function simultaneously, in knee osteoarthritis (OA).
ProceduresIn this article, bone turnover and remodeling was studied using [18F]-sodium fluoride (NaF) PET data. Quantitative MR-derived T1ρ relaxation times characterized the biochemical cartilage degeneration. Sixteen participants with early signs of OA of the knee received intravenous injections of [18F]-NaF at the onset of PET-MR image acquisition. Regions of interest were identified, and kinetic analysis of dynamic PET data provided the rate of uptake ( Ki) and the normalized uptake (standardized uptake value) of [18F]-NaF in the bone. Morphological MR images and quantitative voxel-based T1ρ maps of cartilage were obtained using an atlas-based registration technique to segment cartilage automatically. Voxel-by-voxel statistical parameter mapping was used to investigate the relationship between bone and cartilage.
ResultsIncreases in cartilage T1ρ, indicating degenerative changes, were associated with increased turnover in the adjoining bone but reduced turnover in the nonadjoining compartments. Associations between pain and increased bone uptake were seen in the absence of morphological lesions in cartilage, but the relationship was reversed in the presence of incident cartilage lesions.
ConclusionThis study shows significant cartilage and bone interactions in OA of the knee joint using simultaneous [18F]-NaF PET-MR, the first in human study. These observations highlight the complex biomechanical and biochemical interactions in the whole knee joint in OA, which potentially could help assess therapeutic targets in treating OA.