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Image registration improves human knee cartilage T1 mapping with delayed gadolinium-enhanced MRI of cartilage (dGEMRIC)

European Radiology
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1007/s00330-012-2590-3
  • Musculoskeletal
  • Medicine


Objectives To evaluate the effect of automated registration in delayed gadolinium-enhanced MRI of cartilage (dGEMRIC) of the knee on the occurrence of movement artefacts on the T1 map and the reproducibility of region-of-interest (ROI)-based measurements. Methods Eleven patients with early-stage knee osteoarthritis and ten healthy controls underwent dGEMRIC twice at 3 T. Controls underwent unenhanced imaging. ROIs were manually drawn on the femoral and tibial cartilage. T1 calculation was performed with and without registration of the T1-weighted images. Automated three-dimensional rigid registration was performed on the femur and tibia cartilage separately. Registration quality was evaluated using the square root Cramér–Rao lower bound (CRLBσ). Additionally, the reproducibility of dGEMRIC was assessed by comparing automated registration with manual slice-matching. Results Automated registration of the T1-weighted images improved the T1 maps as the 90% percentile of the CRLBσ was significantly (P < 0.05) reduced with a median reduction of 55.8 ms (patients) and 112.9 ms (controls). Manual matching and automated registration of the re-imaged T1 map gave comparable intraclass correlation coefficients of respectively 0.89/0.90 (patients) and 0.85/0.85 (controls). Conclusions Registration in dGEMRIC reduces movement artefacts on T1 maps and provides a good alternative to manual slice-matching in longitudinal studies. Key Points • Quantitative MRI is increasingly used for biomedical assessment of knee articular cartilage • Image registration leads to more accurate quantification of cartilage quality and damage • Movement artefacts in delayed gadolinium-enhanced MRI of cartilage (dGEMRIC) are reduced • Automated image registration successfully aligns baseline and follow-up dGEMRIC examinations • Reproducibility of dGEMRIC with registration is similar to that using manual slice-matching

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