Application of magnetic resonance diffusion weighted imaging in early ankylosing spondylitis

Fei Ai, Dan Tian, Wei Zhang, Xiao Ming Li, Rao Pan Wu, Chuan Miao Xie, Pei Hong Wu

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


    Objective: To evaluate the magnetic resonance diffusion-weighted imaging (DWI) in the detection of early ankylosing spondylitis and explore the manifestations of ankylosing spondylitis on whole body DWI (WB-DWI). Methods: A total of 16 patients with early ankylosing spondylitis (AS) and 18 patients with low back pain (LBP) were recruited. Subchondral bone marrow apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) in bilateral ilia and sacrum along sacroiliac joints were compared. An independent sample t-test (SPSS 16.0, SPSS, Chicago, III) was utilized to analyze the ADC value differences between groups. P < 0.05 denoted statistical significance. The mean ADC values of focal lesions in AS patients were also measured. Whole body diffusion weighted imaging was performed in additional 8 clinical confirmed AS patients and analyzed with the techniques of maximum intensity projection (MIP) and multiplanar reconstruction (MPR) in comparison with conventional MRI images to investigate the detectability of AS lesions with whole body DWI. Results: Mean ADC values in 16 AS patients were (0.51 ± 0.13) × 10-3 mm2/s in ilia and (0.49 ± 0.17) × 10-3 mm2/s in sacrum. Mean ADC values in 18 LBP patients were (0.32 ± 0.06) × 10-3 mm2/s in ilia and (0.31 ± 0.08) × 10-3 mm2/s in sacrum. The ADC value in AS patients were statistically significantly greater than those in ilia and sacrum of LBP patients. Whole body DWI detected abnormalities in 8 AS patients within bilateral sacroiliac joints and other sites corresponding to the clinical symptoms of patients. The mean ADC values of focal lesions of this patient cohort were (1.31 ± 0.38) × 10-3 mm2/s in sacrum and (1.18 ± 0.27) × 10-3 mm2/s in ilia. Conclusion: Subchondral marrow ADC values along sacroiliac joints allow the differentiation of patients with early AS from LBP patients. In conjunctions with such post-processing techniques as MIP and MPR, WB-DWI allows a comprehensive assessment of AS patients to guide treatment, evaluate prognosis and follow therapeutic responses.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)811-815
    Number of pages5
    JournalNational Medical Journal of China
    Issue number11
    StatePublished - Mar 19 2013


    • Diagnostic imaging
    • Diffusion magnetic resonance imaging
    • Spondylitis, ankylosing

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Medicine(all)

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