Diffusion kurtosis imaging provides quantitative assessment of the microstructure changes of disc degeneration: an in vivo experimental study
Our aim was to assess the microstructural changes of intervertebral disc degeneration induced by annulus needle puncture in rats by diffusion kurtosis imaging (DKI).
Eighteen rats (36 discs) were punctured percutaneously at the intervertebral disc between C6/7, C7/8 (C-coccygeal vertebrae) with a 21-gauge needle. The rats were divided into six groups according to the time after the puncture: 3 h, 48 h, 3 days, 7 days, 10 days and 14 days. There were six discs in three rats in the control group. The rats’ tail was imaged at 3T MRI with T2-weighted and diffusion-weighted and diffusion kurtosis imaging (DWI)/DKI sequences. The discs were categorized using a five-grade degeneration system based on the T2 images. The height of the discs and the parameters in DWI/DKI were measured and compared between the different time points. The histological images were also obtained from the discs.
The histological study revealed that the discs in the rat of the punctured groups were degenerated. The T2 grades of different groups presented an increasing trend from 7 to 10 days after puncture (R2 = 0.9424, P < 0.001), while the DWI/DKI parameters changes were consistent with the histological changes at the different time points and showed significant differences between the different groups (P < 0.05).
DKI provides quantitative assessment of the microstructure changes of disc degeneration, and it is a non-invasive method. The DKI multi-parameter analysis is sensitive to discs changes caused by puncture.
KeywordsSpine Magnetic resonance imaging Diffusion kurtosis imaging Degenerative disc disease Diffusion-weighted imaging Animal model Microstructure
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
None of the authors has any potential conflict of interest.
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