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Original Research ARTICLE

Front. Endocrinol. | doi: 10.3389/fendo.2020.555931

Vertebral bone marrow heterogeneity using texture analysis of chemical shift encoding-based MRI: variations in age, sex and anatomical location Provisionally accepted The final, formatted version of the article will be published soon. Notify me

  • 1Klinik für Diagnostische und Interventionelle Neuroradiologie, Universitätsklinikum rechts der Isar, Technische Universität München, Germany
  • 2Department of Diagnostic and Interventional Radiology, University Hospital rechts der Isar, Technical University of Munich, Germany
  • 3Engineering Product Development, Singapore University of Technology and Design, Singapore
  • 4Neuroimaging Center, University Hospital rechts der Isar, Technical University of Munich, Germany

Objective: Vertebral bone marrow composition has been extensively studied in the past and shown potential as imaging biomarker for osteoporosis, hematopoietic and metabolic disorders. However, beyond quantitative assessment of bone marrow fat, little is known about its heterogeneity. Therefore, we investigated bone marrow heterogeneity of the lumbar spine using texture analysis of chemical-shift-encoding (CSE-MRI) based proton density fat fraction (PDFF) maps and its association with age, sex and anatomical location.

Methods: 156 healthy subjects were scanned (age range: 20–29 years, 12/30 males/females; 30–39, 15/9; 40–49, 5/13; 50–59, 9/27; ≥60: 9/27). A sagittal 8-echo 3D spoiled-gradient-echo sequence at 3T was used for CSE-MRI-based water-fat separation at the lumbar spine. Manual segmentation of vertebral bodies L1-4 was performed. Mean PDFF and texture features (global: variance, skewness, kurtosis; second-order: energy, entropy, contrast, homogeneity, correlation, sum-average, variance, dissimilarity) were extracted at each vertebral level and compared between age groups, sex, and anatomical location.

Results: Mean PDFF significantly increased from L1 to L4 (35.89 ± 11.66 % to 39.52 ± 11.18 %, p = 0.017) and with age (females: 27.19 ± 6.01 % to 49.34 ± 7.75 %, p < 0.001; males: 31.97 ± 7.96 % to 41.83 ± 7.03 %, p = 0.025), but showed no difference between females and males after adjustment for age and BMI (37.13 ± 11.63 % vs. 37.17 ± 8.67 %; p = 0.199). Bone marrow heterogeneity assessed by texture analysis, in contrast to PDFF, was significantly higher in females compared to males after adjustment for age and BMI (namely contrast and dissimilarity; p < 0.031), demonstrated age-dependent differences, in particular in females (p < 0.05), but showed no statistically significant dependence on vertebral location.

Conclusions: Vertebral bone marrow heterogeneity, assessed by texture analysis of PDFF maps, is primarily dependent on sex and age but not on anatomical location. Future studies are needed to investigate bone marrow heterogeneity with regard to aging and disease.

Keywords: Bone Marrow, Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Texture Analysis, Spine, proton density fat fraction 3

Received: 26 Apr 2020; Accepted: 24 Aug 2020.

Copyright: © 2020 Dieckmeyer, Junker, Ruschke, Mookiah, Subburaj, Burian, Sollmann, Kirschke, Karampinos and Baum. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: MD. Michael Dieckmeyer, Klinik für Diagnostische und Interventionelle Neuroradiologie, Universitätsklinikum rechts der Isar, Technische Universität München, Munich, 81675, Bavaria, Germany, michael.dieckmeyer@tum.de