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Volume 2011 (2011), Article ID 475684, 19 pages
Review Article

Quantitative Cartilage Imaging in Knee Osteoarthritis

1Institute of Anatomy and Musculoskeletal Research, Paracelsus Medical University, Strubergaβe 21, 5020 Salzburg, Austria
2Chondrometrics GmbH, 83404 Ainring, Germany

Received 19 August 2010; Accepted 25 October 2010

Academic Editor: Dirk Elewaut

Copyright © 2011 Felix Eckstein and Wolfgang Wirth. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Quantitative measures of cartilage morphology (i.e., thickness) represent potentially powerful surrogate endpoints in osteoarthritis (OA). These can be used to identify risk factors of structural disease progression and can facilitate the clinical efficacy testing of structure modifying drugs in OA. This paper focuses on quantitative imaging of articular cartilage morphology in the knee, and will specifically deal with different cartilage morphology outcome variables and regions of interest, the relative performance and relationship between cartilage morphology measures, reference values for MRI-based knee cartilage morphometry, imaging protocols for measurement of cartilage morphology (including those used in the Osteoarthritis Initiative), sensitivity to change observed in knee OA, spatial patterns of cartilage loss as derived by subregional analysis, comparison of MRI changes with radiographic changes, risk factors of MRI-based cartilage loss in knee OA, the correlation of MRI-based cartilage loss with clinical outcomes, treatment response in knee OA, and future directions of the field.