Ernesto Staroswiecki1,2, Neal Kepler Bangerter3, Garry Evan Gold1, Brian Andrew Hargreaves1
1Radiology, Stanford University, Stanford, CA, United States; 2Electrical Engineering, Stanford University, Stanford, CA, United States; 3Electrical and Computer Engineering, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT, United States
Early degenerative changes in human articular cartilage are usually accompanied by proteoglycan depletion. Sodium MRI has been shown to correlate with proteoglycan concentration in the tissue. In order to track sodium signal in cartilage, contributions from synovial fluid should be minimized. Here we studied the contrast between fluid and cartilage generated by SPGR and balanced SSFP sequences. We acquired images of phantoms and volunteers at 3T with both sequences and a range of flip angles. Fluid was significantly attenuated on SPGR images with a large flip angle when compared with SSFP data, while the cartilage signal was minimally affected.