An in vivo study of intervertebral disc degeneration by using quantitative magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS).To quantify water and proteoglycan (PG) content in the intervertebral disc by using in vivo MRS and to evaluate the relationship between MRS-quantified water/PG content, T1?, Pfirrmann score, clinical self-assessment, and discography.Previous in vitro studies have investigated the relationship between MRS-quantified water/PG content and degenerative grade by using cadaveric intervertebral discs. T1? has been shown to relate to Pfirrmann grade and clinical self-assessment. However, the associations between MRS-quantified water/PG content, MRI-based T1?, self-assessment of health status, and clinical response to discography have not been studied in vivo.MRS and MRI were performed in 26 patients (70 discs) with symptomatic intervertebral degenerative disc (IVDD) and 23 controls (41 discs). Patients underwent evaluation of intervertebral discs with provocative discography. All subjects completed the Short Form-36 Health Survey and Oswestry Disability Index questionnaires.The water/PG peak area ratio was significantly elevated in (a) patients (compared with controls) and in (b) discs with positive discography (compared with negative discography). Magnetic resonance (MR) T1? exhibited similar trends. A significant association was found between T1? and normalized PG content (R = 0.61, P < 0.05) but not between T1? and normalized water content (R = 0.24, P > 0.05). The water/PG peak area ratio, normalized water, normalized PG, and Pfirrmann grade were significantly associated with patient self-assessment of disability and physical composite score, while disc height was not.This study demonstrated a relationship between in vivo MRS spectroscopy (water content and PG content), imaging parameters (T1? and Pfirrmann grade), discography results, and clinical self-assessment, suggesting that MRS-quantified water, PG, and MR T1? relaxation time may potentially serve as biomarkers of symptomatic IVDD.
View details for DOI 10.1097/BRS.0b013e3182294a63
View details for PubMedID 21697767
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC3633556