Volume 14 (2015) Issue 2 Pages 115-122
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.