High-resolution magnetic resonance imaging of ankle joints in murine arthritis discriminates inflammation and bone destruction in a quantifiable manner

Shawn Rose, Emily A. Waters, Chad R. Haney, C. Thomas J. Meade, Harris Perlman*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Objective The ability to noninvasively monitor the development of inflammatory arthritis longitudinally has become increasingly important in experimental rheumatology. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) allows for detailed examination of anatomic structures, as well as the assessment of joint and soft tissue inflammation. The aim of this study was to extend the use of MRI to include quantitative measurements of bone destruction in murine ankle joints. Methods Joint disease was measured serially using clinical, histologic, in vivo imaging system (IVIS), micro-computed tomography (micro-CT), and MRI techniques in mouse ankle joints, using the K/BxN serum transfer-induced acute arthritis and K/BxAg7 chronic arthritis models. Ankle joint MRI was performed using a gradient-echo pulse sequence to evaluate bone destruction and a spin-echo sequence to evaluate inflammation (long T2 signal). Results Arthritic mice, as compared to control mice, demonstrated increased disease severity according to clinical, histologic, IVIS, and MRI measures. Following induction of arthritis, the majority of volume expansion of the long T2 signal occurred in a juxtaarticular, rather than intrarticular, manner within the ankle joints. Bone destruction in K/BxAg7 mouse ankle joints was readily detectible by MRI. Linear regression analyses demonstrated significant correlations between the clinical score and joint radiance intensity assessed by IVIS, between the ankle joint width and increased long T2 signal on MRI, and between the bone volume obtained by micro-CT and bone volume obtained by MRI. Conclusion MRI is an optimal technology for anatomic localization of articular and soft tissue changes during the development and progression of inflammatory arthritis. Future studies may combine MRI with in vivo labeling agents to investigate joint disease in a cell type-specific manner.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2279-2289
Number of pages11
JournalArthritis and rheumatism
Issue number9
StatePublished - Aug 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Rheumatology
  • Immunology
  • Pharmacology (medical)

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