Purpose: We analyzed the anatomical structure of the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) and molecular weight dependency of synovial membrane permeability in mice using 7-tesla magnetic resonance (MR) imaging.
Methods: We obtained 3-dimensional (3D) T1-weighted gradient echo (3D-T1W) and 3D T2-weighted rapid acquisition with relaxation enhancement (3D-T2W RARE) MR images of the TMJ of male C57BL6 mice with voxel resolution of 65 µm. Two-dimensional (2D) T1w images were measured every 45 s before and after bolus intravenous (IV) injection of contrast reagents: gadolinium diethylenetriamine pentaacetic acid (Gd-DTPA; 0.5 kDa); oligomer-based contrast agent (CH3-DTPA-Gd; 2.1 kDa); gadolinium-labeled polylysine (Gd-polylysine; 10 kDa); and gadolinium-labeled albumin (Gd-albumin; 74 kDa).
Results: T1W images depicted the temporal bone and mandibular condyle as regions with lower signal intensity and the disc as a region of intermediate intensity. In the Gd-DTPA-enhanced T1W and T2W images, the articular disc could be identified as a region with lower signal intensity than that of the upper and lower joint cavities. After IV injection of Gd-DTPA or CH3-DTPA-Gd, the signal intensity of the joint cavities increased within 10 min, but this increase was not shown with Gd-polylysine and Gd-albumin.
Conclusion: The structural findings obtained by MR imaging agreed with those obtained by hematoxylin-eosin staining under light microscopy. Contrast-enhanced MR imaging suggested that smaller (<2.1 kDa) but not larger (>10 kDa) molecules can permeate the synovial membrane. Our results suggest the utility of MR imaging for analyzing the structure of the TMJ as well as permeability of the synovial membrane.
2015 by Japanese Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine