Mina Kim1, Queenie Chan2, Marina-Portia Anthony1, Kenneth MC Cheung3, Dino Samartzis3, Tao Chan1, Pek-Lan Khong1
1Department of Diagnostic Radiology, The University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong, China; 2Philips Healthcare, Hong Kong; 3Division of Spine Surgery, Department of Orthopaedics and Traumatology, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong
Detecting early disc degeneration is of vital importance in order to identify subjects that are suitable for treatment. However, current diagnostic techniques are not sensitive to the early stages of intervertebral disc (IVD) degeneration, which involves the loss of proteoglycans. Recently, it has been suggested that glycosaminoglycan content can be quantified by chemical exchange saturation transfer (gagCEST). In the present work, we conducted gagCEST imaging for IVDs of human volunteers. Our results show that in vivo gagCEST quantification is feasible at 3 Tesla and may potentially be a useful clinical tool in identifying early degenerative changes in the human IVDs.