Pediatric Radiology

, Volume 44, Issue 5, pp 566–575 | Cite as

Systematic protocol for assessment of the validity of BOLD MRI in a rabbit model of inflammatory arthritis at 1.5 tesla

  • Michael W. Chan
  • George Nathanael
  • Antonella Kis
  • Afsaneh Amirabadi
  • Anguo Zhong
  • Tammy Rayner
  • Ruth Weiss
  • Garry Detzler
  • Roland Jong
  • Harpal Gahunia
  • Rahim Moineddin
  • Adrian Crawley
  • Andrea S. Doria
Original Article



Blood-oxygen-level-dependent (BOLD) MRI has the potential to identify regions of early hypoxic and vascular joint changes in inflammatory arthritis. There is no standard protocol for analysis of BOLD MRI measurements in musculoskeletal disorders.


To optimize the following BOLD MRI reading parameters: (1) statistical threshold values (low, r > 0.01 versus high, r > 0.2); (2) summary measures of BOLD contrast (percentage of activated voxels [PT%] versus percentage signal difference between on-and-off signal intensities [diff_on_off]); and (3) direction of BOLD response (positive, negative and positive + negative).

Materials and methods

Using BOLD MRI protocols at 1.5 T, arthritic (n = 21) and contralateral (n = 21) knees of 21 juvenile rabbits were imaged at baseline and on days 1, 14 and 28 after a unilateral intra-articular injection of carrageenan. Nine non-injected rabbits served as external control knees (n = 18). By comparing arthritic to contralateral knees, receiver operating characteristic curves were used to determine diagnostic accuracy.


Using diff_on_off and positive + negative responses, a threshold of r > 0.01 was more accurate than r > 0.2 (P = 0.03 at day 28). Comparison of summary measures yielded no statistically significant difference (P > 0.05). Although positive + negative (AUC = 0.86 at day 28) and negative responses (AUC = 0.90 at day 28) for PT% were the most diagnostically accurate, positive + negative responses for diff_on_off (AUC = 0.78 at day 28) also had acceptable accuracy.


The most clinically relevant reading parameters included a lower threshold of r > 0.01 and a positive + negative BOLD response. We propose that diff_on_off is a more clinically relevant summary measure of BOLD MRI, while PT% can be used as an ancillary measure.


Inflammatory arthritis Rabbits Reading parameters Blood-oxygen-level-dependent MRI 



This study was supported by a Seed Grant provided by the Radiological Society of North America Foundation to Dr. Andrea S. Doria. Dr. Michael W. Chan received the 2011 Comprehensive Research Experience for Medical Students (CREMS), Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto Summer Studentship Award for the conduct of the data analysis of this study.

Conflicts of interest



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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael W. Chan
    • 1
  • George Nathanael
    • 1
  • Antonella Kis
    • 1
  • Afsaneh Amirabadi
    • 1
  • Anguo Zhong
    • 1
  • Tammy Rayner
    • 1
  • Ruth Weiss
    • 1
  • Garry Detzler
    • 1
  • Roland Jong
    • 2
  • Harpal Gahunia
    • 1
  • Rahim Moineddin
    • 3
  • Adrian Crawley
    • 4
    • 5
  • Andrea S. Doria
    • 1
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Diagnostic ImagingThe Hospital for Sick ChildrenTorontoCanada
  2. 2.Department of Pathology and Laboratory MedicineMount Sinai HospitalTorontoCanada
  3. 3.Department of Public HealthFamily and Community MedicineTorontoCanada
  4. 4.Department of Medical ImagingUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada
  5. 5.Department of Medical ImagingToronto Western HospitalTorontoCanada

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