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Local associations between knee cartilage T1ρ and T2 relaxation times and patellofemoral joint stress during walking: A voxel-based relaxometry analysis



This study aimed to utilize voxel-based relaxometry (VBR) to examine local correlations between patellofemoral joint (PFJ) stress during gait and PFJ cartilage relaxation times.


Eighty-three subjects with and without PFJ osteoarthritis (OA) underwent knee magnetic resonance (MR) images using fast spin-echo, T1ρ and T2 relaxation time sequences. Patellar and trochlear cartilage relaxation times were computed for each voxel. Peak PFJ stress was computed during the stance phase from three-dimensional gait analysis. Statistical Parametric Mapping was used to perform VBR analyses. Pearson partial correlations were used to evaluate the associations between peak PFJ stress and cartilage relaxation times while controlling for age, sex, and body mass index.


A higher percentage of the trochlear cartilage (15.9-29.1%) showed significant positive correlations between PFJ stress and T1ρ and T2 than the patellar cartilage (7.4-13.6%). Average correlation coefficient (R) of the voxels showing significant positive correlations ranged from 0.27 to 0.29. Subcompartment analysis revealed a higher percentage of lateral compartment cartilage (trochlea: 30.2-34.7%, patella: 8.1-14.8%) showed significant correlations between peak PFJ stress and T1ρ and T2 than the medial compartment cartilage (trochlea: 7.1-27.2%, patella: 5.5-5.9%). Subgroup analysis showed that larger percentages of PFJ cartilage demonstrated significant positive correlations with PFJ stress in subjects with PFJ OA than those without PFJ OA.


The findings of this study suggest that peak PFJ stress has a greater influence on the biochemical composition of the trochlear than the patellar cartilage, and the lateral than the medial PFJ compartment.

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