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Bone marrow lesions in knee osteoarthritis assessed by dynamic contrast-enhanced MRI with histopathological correlations.

Acta Radiologica 2024 May 21
BACKGROUND: Bone marrow lesions (BMLs) in knee osteoarthritis (OA) have been assessed histopathologically and by dynamic contrast-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging (DCE-MRI); however, a direct comparison of the results has not been reported.

PURPOSE: To evaluate and compare the findings by DCE-MRI and histopathology of subchondral BMLs in knee OA.

MATERIAL AND METHODS: In total, 19 patients with medial tibiofemoral knee OA undergoing total knee arthroplasty were analyzed. Preoperative MRI, including a DCE sequence, was performed, and bone biopsies were obtained from the resected specimens corresponding to BML areas. The contrast enhancement by DCE-MRI was analyzed using semi-quantitative (area under the curve [AUC]), peak enhancement [PE]), and quantitative (Ktrans, Kep) methods. Enhancement in the medial OA compartment was compared with similar areas in a normal lateral compartment, and the DCE characteristics of BMLs were correlated with semi-quantitatively graded histopathological features.

RESULTS: AUC and PE were significantly higher in medial tibial and femoral BMLs compared with the values in the lateral condyles; Ktrans and Kep were only significantly higher in the tibial plateau. In the tibia, AUC and PE were significantly correlated with the grade of vascular proliferation, and PE also with the degree of marrow fibrosis. There was no significant correlation between AUC/PE and histopathological findings in the femur and no correlation between quantitative DCE parameters and histopathological findings.

CONCLUSION: BML characteristics by semi-quantitative DCE in the form of AUC and PE may be used as parameters for the degree of histopathological vascularization in the bone marrow whereas quantitative DCE data were less conclusive.

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