Nikola Stikov1, Kathryn E. Keenan2, Karla L. Miller3, Joelle Karine Barral1, Garry Evan Gold4, John Mark Pauly1
1Electrical Engineering, Stanford University, Stanford, CA, USA; 2Mechanical Engineering, Stanford University, Stanford, CA, USA; 3FMRIB Centre, Oxford University, Oxford, Oxon, UK; 4Radiology, Stanford University, Stanford, CA, USA
Osteoarthritis of the knee affects approximately 30% of the American population over 60. Currently osteoarthritis cannot be detected until after significant cartilage degradation. Early detection of reduced glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) in cartilage would be useful for early diagnosis of osteoarthritis. The gagCEST contrast mechanism succeeds in imaging GAGs thanks to their asymmetric z-spectrum. An alternative way to capture this asymmetry is by using a balanced SSFP sequence, because the SSFP frequency profile is affected by the lineshape of the tissue. Recently it has been shown that the SSFP profile of white matter in the brain has an asymmetry in its frequency profile. We observed similar asymmetry in cartilage using the balanced SSFP technique.