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Use magnetic resonance imaging to assess articular cartilage

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-17, 15:23 authored by Wang, Y, Wluka, AE, Graeme JonesGraeme Jones, Chang-Hai DingChang-Hai Ding, Cicuttini, FM
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) enables a noninvasive, three-dimensional assessment of the entire joint, simultaneously allowing the direct visualization of articular cartilage. Thus, MRI has become the imaging modality of choice in both clinical and research settings of musculoskeletal diseases, particular for osteoarthritis (OA). Although radiography, the current gold standard for the assessment of OA, has had recent significant technical advances, radiographic methods have significant limitations when used to measure disease progression. MRI allows accurate and reliable assessment of articular cartilage which is sensitive to change, providing the opportunity to better examine and understand preclinical and very subtle early abnormalities in articular cartilage, prior to the onset of radiographic disease. MRI enables quantitative (cartilage volume and thickness) and semiquantitative assessment of articular cartilage morphology, and quantitative assessment of cartilage matrix composition. Cartilage volume and defects have demonstrated adequate validity, accuracy, reliability and sensitivity to change. They are correlated to radiographic changes and clinical outcomes such as pain and joint replacement. Measures of cartilage matrix composition show promise as they seem to relate to cartilage morphology and symptoms. MRI-derived cartilage measurements provide a useful tool for exploring the effect of modifiable factors on articular cartilage prior to clinical disease and identifying the potential preventive strategies. MRI represents a useful approach to monitoring the natural history of OA and evaluating the effect of therapeutic agents. MRI assessment of articular cartilage has tremendous potential for large-scale epidemiological studies of OA progression, and for clinical trials of treatment response to disease-modifying OA drugs.


Publication title

Therapeutic Advances in Musculoskeletal Disease








Menzies Institute for Medical Research


Sage Publications Ltd.

Place of publication

United Kingdom

Rights statement

Copyright 2011 The Author(s)

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Clinical health not elsewhere classified

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