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01.12.2018 | Research article | Ausgabe 1/2018 Open Access

BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 1/2018

With axial loading during MRI diurnal T2-value changes in lumbar discs are neglectable: a cross sectional study

BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders > Ausgabe 1/2018
L. Torén, H. Hebelka, I. Kasperska, H. Brisby, K. Lagerstrand



Axial loading during MRI (alMRI) combined with T2 mapping recently was shown as a promising method to reveal biomechanical intervertebral disc (IVD) characteristics. This feasibility study aims to investigate whether there is a diurnal variation in the IVD T2-value when using alMRI. This is of importance for the planning of when to perform alMRI investigations and for interpretations of alMRI findings in relation to clinical symptoms.


Six healthy volunteers (30 lumbar discs), were examined with alMRI at three different sessions during 1 day. To be representative for a low back pain cohort in terms of age and IVD degeneration the included participants had a wide age range (27-63y) and all Pfirrmann grades represented. The T2-values were measured in five IVD regions of interest (ROI). The ROIs were equally large in sagittal plane with ROI1 representing anterior parts of the IVD, ROI5 posterior IVD parts and ROI2–4 the parts in between.


T2-values of the entire IVD varied between 38 and 138 ms at 7 am, 33-143 ms at 11.30 am, and 31-147 ms at 4 pm with large regional IVD variations at all time points. No significant alterations of the T2-values over the day were found, neither for the entire IVD (p = 0.4) nor for the various ROIs (p = 0.2–1.0). Neither when correlated to Pfirrmann grade, any significant diurnal T2-value changes were found.


With alMRI, only minor diurnal T2-value changes were found in the lumbar discs. Nonsignificant and neglectable diurnal changes are advantageous both for research purposes, as well as in the clinical setting, giving comparable and robust data regardless of at what time-point the alMRI is performed.
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