Chenyang Michael Wang1, Erin McArdle2, Walter Witschey3, Mark Elliott2, Ravi Reddy2, Ari Borthakur2
1Bioengineering, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, USA; 2Radiology, University of Pennsylvania; 3Biophysics and Molecular Biology, University of Pennsylvania
Intervertebral disc degeneration is a common and sometimes painful condition. The initial sign of intervertebral disc degeneration involves the breakdown of proteoglycans, and current diagnostic measure for the condition is not sensitive to it. Sodium MRI has previously been used to study proteoglycan depletion in articular cartilage. In this study, we conducted high-resolution sodium MRI on ex vivo bovine intervertebral discs samples, and correlated sodium MRI result with 1,9-dimethylmethylene blue proteoglycan assay results. Our results demonstrated the potential for sodium MRI to become a non-invasive diagnostic tool for early stage intervertebral disc degeneration.