Background: Quantitative MRI of patellar tendinopathy (PT) can be challenging due to spatial variation of T2* relaxation times. Purpose: 1) To compare T2* quantification using a standard approach with analysis in specific tissue compartments of the patellar tendon. 2) To evaluate test–retest reliability of different methods for fitting ultrashort echo time (UTE)-relaxometry data. Study Type: Prospective. Subjects: Sixty-five athletes with PT. Field Strength/Sequence: 3D UTE scans covering the patellar tendon were acquired using a 3.0T scanner and a 16-channel surface coil. Assessment: Voxelwise median T2* was quantified with monoexponential, fractional-order, and biexponential fitting. We applied two methods for T2* analysis: first, a standard approach by analyzing all voxels covering the proximal patellar tendon. Second, within subregions of the patellar tendon, by using thresholds on biexponential fitting parameter percentage short T2* (0–30% for mostly long T2*, 30–60% for mixed T2*, and 60–100% for mostly short T2*). Statistical Tests: Average test–retest reliability was assessed in three athletes using coefficients-of-variation (CV) and coefficients-of-repeatability (CR). Results: With standard image analysis, we found a median [interquartile range, IQR] monoexponential T2* of 6.43 msec [4.32–8.55] and fractional order T2* 4.39 msec [3.06–5.78]. The percentage of short T2* components was 52.9% [35.5–69.6]. Subregional monoexponential T2* was 13.78 msec [12.11–16.46], 7.65 msec [6.49–8.61], and 3.05 msec [2.52–3.60] and fractional order T2* 11.82 msec [10.09–14.44], 5.14 msec [4.25–5.96], and 2.19 msec [1.82–2.64] for 0–30%, 30–60%, and 60–100% short T2*, respectively. Biexponential component short T2* was 1.693 msec [1.417–2.003] for tissue with mostly short T2* and long T2* of 15.79 msec [13.47–18.61] for mostly long T2*. The average CR (CV) was 2 msec (15%), 2 msec (19%) and 10% (22%) for monoexponential, fractional order and percentage short T2*, respectively. Data Conclusion: Patellar tendinopathy is characterized by regional variability in binding states of water. Quantitative multicompartment T2* analysis in PT can be facilitated using a voxel selection method based on using biexponential fitting parameters. Level of Evidence: 1. Technical Efficacy Stage: 1.

Additional Metadata
Keywords biomarkers, image processing, magnetic resonance imaging, patellar ligament, reproducibility of results, tendinopathy
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1002/jmri.27108, hdl.handle.net/1765/125193
Journal Journal of Magnetic Resonance Imaging
Citation
Breda, S.J, Poot, D.H.J, Papp, D. (Dorottya), de Vries, B.A. (Bas A.), Kotek, G, Krestin, G.P, … Oei, E.H.G. (2020). Tissue-Specific T2* Biomarkers in Patellar Tendinopathy by Subregional Quantification Using 3D Ultrashort Echo Time MRI. Journal of Magnetic Resonance Imaging. doi:10.1002/jmri.27108