To assess the feasibility of detecting early biochemical changes of nucleus pulposus (NP) in intervertebral disk degeneration (IVDD) by diffusion kurtosis imaging (DKI), and compare mean kurtosis (MK) and T2* mapping in IVDD according to Pfirrmann grades. Twenty individuals underwent lumbar sagittal T2-weighted image, DKI and T2* mapping. DKI related parameters—mean kurtosis (MK) and T2* values were measured. The differences between MK and T2* value in NP were highly significant. Pfirrmann grades were inversely significantly correlated with T2* values in the NP, and positively correlated with MK values, especially between Pfirrmann grade II ,III and Ⅳ.