Objective: We aimed to validate a 2D radial T2* mapping method and its ability to reveal subtle alterations in the menisci of patients with knee osteoarthritis (OA). Methods: Of 40 enrolled participants, 20 were diagnosed with OA, and 20 were age- and sex-matched asymptomatic controls. Data from the right knee of each participant were collected using a 1.5-T MRI equipped with a single-channel knee coil. T2* values were acquired using a conventional T2* mapping protocol and a radial T2* mapping method. Mean T2* values in the meniscal white zones, meniscal red zones, and total menisci were calculated. Numerical simulation was performed for validation. Results: Both simulation and clinical data confirmed that 2D radial T2* mapping provided better discrimination than the conventional method. Compared to controls, the OA group showed significantly greater mean (standard deviation) T2* values in the white zones (9.33 [2.29] ms vs. 6.04 [1.05] ms), red zones (9.18 [2.03] ms vs. 6.81 [1.28] ms), and total menisci (9.26 [2.06] ms vs. 6.34 [1.14] ms). Correlations were found between the Lequesne index and the meniscal T2* values in all three regions (r = 0.528, p = 0.017; r = 0.635, p = 0.003; and r = 0.556, p = 0.011, respectively). Conclusion: These findings indicate that in early OA, radial T2* mapping is an alternative means of assessing meniscal degeneration and can be used to monitor its progression. Key Points: • Radial T2* mapping outperforms Cartesian T2* mapping. • Radial T2* measurements are useful in assessing meniscal degeneration. • Meniscal T2* values correlate well with disease severity.
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