BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Glycosaminoglycan chemical exchange saturation transfer (gagCEST) imaging allows the direct measurement and mapping of glycosaminoglycans. In this study, we aimed to evaluate the usefulness of gagCEST imaging in the quantitative assessment of intervertebral disc degeneration in a comparison with Pfirrmann grade and T1- measurements. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Ninety-six lumbar intervertebral discs in 24 volunteers (36.0 8.5 years of age, 21 men and 3 women) were examined with both gagCEST imaging and T1- measurements. The gagCEST imaging was performed at 3T with a saturation pulse with 1.0-second duration and the B1 amplitude of 0.8 T followed by imaging by a 2D fast spin-echo sequence. The Z-spectra were obtained at 25 frequency offsets from 3 to 3 ppm (step, 0.25 ppm). A point-by-point B0 correction was performed with a B0 map. The gagCEST signal and T1- values were measured in the nucleus pulposus in each intervertebral disc. The Pfirrmann grades were assessed on T2-weighted images. RESULTS: The gagCEST signal at grade I (5.36% 2.79%) was significantly higher than those at Pfirrmann grade II (3.15% 1.40%, P .0006), grade III (0.14% 1.03%, P .0001), grade IV (1.75% 2.82%, P .0001), and grade V (1.47% 0.36%, P .0001). The gagCEST signal at grade II was significantly higher than those of grade III (P .0001), grade IV (P .0001), and grade V (P .0001). The gagCEST signal was significantly correlated negatively with Pfirrmann grade (P .0001) and positively correlated with T1- (P .0001). CONCLUSIONS: GagCEST imaging could be a reliable and quantitative technique for assessing intervertebral disc degeneration.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
- Clinical Neurology