Skeletal Radiology

, Volume 41, Issue 11, pp 1435–1443 | Cite as

Non-traumatic anterior cruciate ligament abnormalities and their relationship to osteoarthritis using morphological grading and cartilage T2 relaxation times: data from the Osteoarthritis Initiative (OAI)

  • Keegan K. Hovis
  • Hamza AlizaiEmail author
  • Seng-Choe Tham
  • Richard B. Souza
  • Michael C. Nevitt
  • Charles E. McCulloch
  • Thomas M. Link
Scientific Article



The aim of this work was to study anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) degeneration in relation to MRI-based morphological knee abnormalities and cartilage T2 relaxation times in subjects with symptomatic osteoarthritis.


Two radiologists screened the right knee MRI of 304 randomly selected participants in the Osteoarthritis Initiative cohort with symptomatic OA, for ACL abnormalities. Of the 52 knees with abnormalities, 28 had mucoid degeneration, 12 had partially torn ACLs, and 12 had completely torn ACLs. Fifty-three randomly selected subjects with normal ACLs served as controls. Morphological knee abnormalities were graded using the WORMS score. Cartilage was segmented and compartment-specific T2 values were calculated.


Compared to normal ACL knees, those with ACL abnormalities had a greater prevalence of, and more severe, cartilage, meniscal, bone marrow, subchondral cyst, and medial collateral ligament lesions (all p < 0.05). T2 measurements did not significantly differ by ACL status.


ACL abnormalities were associated with more severe degenerative changes, likely because of greater joint instability. T2 measurements may not be well suited to assess advanced cartilage degeneration.


Osteoarthritis Anterior cruciate ligament MRI Knee joint Cartilage T2 values 



The OAI is a public-private partnership comprised of five contracts (N01-AR-2-2258; N01-AR-2-2259; N01-AR-2-2260; N01-AR-2-2261; N01-AR-2-2262) funded by the National Institutes of Health, a branch of the Department of Health and Human Services, and conducted by the OAI Study Investigators. This study was also funded in part by the Intramural Research Program of the National Institute on Aging. Private funding partners include Pfizer, Inc.; Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation; Merck Research Laboratories; and GlaxoSmithKline. Private sector funding for the OAI is managed by the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health. In addition, the analyses performed in this study were funded through the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases NIH U01AR059507-01. This manuscript has received the approval of the OAI Publications Committee based on a review of its scientific content and data interpretation.

The authors would like to thank our colleagues John A. Lynch, PhD, and Bryan Haughom for their contributions during the early stages of the study.


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Copyright information

© ISS 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Keegan K. Hovis
    • 1
  • Hamza Alizai
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Seng-Choe Tham
    • 1
  • Richard B. Souza
    • 1
  • Michael C. Nevitt
    • 3
  • Charles E. McCulloch
    • 3
  • Thomas M. Link
    • 1
  1. 1.Musculoskeletal and Quantitative Imaging Research Group, Department of Radiology and Biomedical ImagingUniversity of California San FranciscoSan FranciscoUSA
  2. 2.Department of Radiology and Biomedical ImagingUniversity of California, San FranciscoSan FranciscoUSA
  3. 3.Department of Epidemiology and BiostatisticsUniversity of California San FranciscoSan FranciscoUSA

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