MRI is increasingly used to evaluate cartilage in tissue constructs, explants, and animal and patient studies. However, while mean values of MR parameters, including T1, T2, magnetization transfer rate km, apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC), and the dGEMRIC-derived fixed charge density, correlate with tissue status, the ability to classify tissue according to these parameters has not been explored. Therefore, the sensitivity and specificity with which each of these parameters was able to distinguish between normal and trypsin-degraded, and between normal and collagenase-degraded, cartilage explants were determined. Initial analysis was performed using a training set to determine simple group means to which parameters obtained from a validation set were compared. T1 and apparent diffusion coefficient showed the greatest ability to discriminate between normal and degraded cartilage. Further analysis with k-means clustering, which eliminates the need for a priori identification of sample status, generally performed comparably. Use of fuzzy c-means (FCM) clustering to define centroids likewise did not result in improvement in discrimination. Finally, an FCM clustering approach in which validation samples were assigned in a probabilistic fashion to control and degraded groups was implemented, reflecting the range of tissue characteristics seen with cartilage degradation.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging