David A. Reiter1, Ligaya Roque1, Richard G. Spencer1
1National Institute on Aging, National Institutes of Health, Baltimore, MD, USA
We sought to improve the specificity for cartilage matrix degradation through multiexponential analysis of T2 relaxation, which can delineate macromolecular compartments with varying water fraction and mobility. Multiexponential T2 analysis of control cartilage and of cartilage subjected to three enzymatic degradation protocols showed distinct patterns, consistent with the known actions of the degradative enzymes used. In contrast, while monoexponential T2 values increased with degradation, there was no enzyme-specificity in this increase. Therefore, multiexponential T2 analysis demonstrates greatly improved specificity over standard monoexponential T2 analysis to changes in cartilage matrix, indicating the diagnostic potential of such analysis for detecting cartilage disease.