Here we propose a new magnetic resonance (MR) strategy based on the evaluation of internal gradient (Gi) to assess the trabecular bone (TB) density in spongy bone. Spongy bone is a porous system characterized by a solid trabecular network immersed in bone marrow and characterized by a different relative percentage of water and fats. Using a 9.4 T MR micro-imaging system, we first evaluated the relative water and fat Gi as extracted from the Spin-Echo decay function in vitro of femoral head samples from calves. Indeed, the differential effects of fat and water diffusion result in different types of Gi behavior. Using a clinical MR 3T scanner, we then investigated in vivo the calcanei of individuals characterized by different known TB densities. We demonstrate, on these samples, that water is more prevalent in the boundary zone, while fats are rearranged primarily in the central zone of each pore. In vitro experiments showed that water Gi magnitude from the samples was directly proportional to their TB density. Similar behavior was also observed in the clinical measures. Conversely, fat Gi did not provide any information on spongy-bone density. Our results suggest that water Gi may be a reliable marker to assess the status of spongy bone.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
- Radiological and Ultrasound Technology