Objective Delayed gadolinium enhanced MRI of cartilage (dGEMRIC) facilitates non-invasive evaluation of the glycosaminoglycan content in articular cartilage. The primary aim of this study was to show that the dGEMRIC technique is able to monitor cartilage repair following regenerative cartilage treatment. Design Thirty-one patients with a focal cartilage lesion underwent a dGEMRIC scan prior to cartilage repair surgery and at 3 and 12 months follow-up. At similar time points clinical improvement was monitored using the KOOS and Lysholm questionnaires. Per MRI scan several regions-of-interest (ROI) were defined for different locations in the joint. The dGEMRIC index (T1gd) was calculated for each ROI. RMANOVA analysis was used to evaluate improvement in clinical scores and MRI T1gd over time. Also regression analysis was performed to show the influence of local repair on cartilage quality at distant locations in the knee. Results Clinical scores and the dGEMRIC T1gd per ROI showed a statistically significant improvement (p<0.01), from baseline, at 12 months follow-up. Also, improvement from baseline in T1gd of the ROI defining the treated cartilage defect showed a direct relationship (p<0.007) to the improvement of the T1gd of ROI at other locations in the joint. Conclusions The dGEMRIC MRI protocol is a useful method to evaluate cartilage repair. In addition, local cartilage repair influenced the cartilage quality at other location in the joint. These findings validate the use of dGEMRIC for noninvasive evaluation of the effects of cartilage regeneration.
Bekkers, J. E. J., Lambertus, W. B., Benink, R. J., Tsuchida, A. I., Vincken, K. L., Dhert, W. J. A., ... Saris, D. B. F. (2013). Delayed Gadolinium Enhanced MRI of Cartilage (dGEMRIC) can be effectively applied for longitudinal cohort evaluation of articular cartilage regeneration. Osteoarthritis and cartilage, 21(7), 943-949. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.joca.2013.03.017