High-resolution magnetic resonance imaging of normal porcine cartilaginous epiphyseal maturation

Paul S. Babyn, Harry K W Kim, Claude Lemaire, Harpal K. Gahunia, Albert Cross, Joseph DeNanassy, Kenneth P H Pritzker

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37 Scopus citations


The aim of this study was to determine whether high-resolution magnetic resonance (MR) imaging could differentiate epiphyseal and articular cartilage in the cartilaginous epiphysis and demonstrate its developmental changes. T1- and T2-weighted (T1W and T2W) spin-echo sequences at 50-mm field of view (FOV) of hip joints were obtained from 14 piglets (newborn to 6 months). Subsequently, high-resolution MR images (15-mm FOV) of a biopsy core of the proximal femoral cartilaginous epiphysis were correlated with histology. Newborn cartilaginous epiphysis demonstrated homogeneous signal intensity on T1W and T2W imaging with abundant cartilage canals. From 2 weeks of age, the cartilaginous epiphysis showed a diminution of cartilage canals, with three zones evident on T2W imaging consisting of a low-signal middle zone separating two higher signal zones. Histologic evaluation demonstrated four distinct morphologic laminas with a decrease in overall cartilage thickness with age. The laminas were not as well defined in the newborn compared with the older piglets. No simple correlation was found between the MR zonal pattern and the morphological laminas on histology. No distinct demarcation between the articular cartilage and epiphyseal cartilage was present. MR can visualize cartilage canals and demonstrate changes in the cartilaginous epiphysis that occur with maturation. What component of the cartilaginous epiphysis that accounts for the MR differences seen between newborn and older piglets remains unclear.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)172-179
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Magnetic Resonance Imaging
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1996


  • Bone
  • Cartilage
  • Epiphysis
  • Magnetic resonance imaging

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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