Comparative analysis of the diagnostic values of T2 mapping and diffusion-weighted imaging for sacroiliitis in ankylosing spondylitis



To investigate the diagnostic values of T2 mapping and diffusion-weighted imaging (DWI) for active sacroiliitis in ankylosing spondylitis (AS) and to evaluate the correlations of T2 and ADC values with Bath Ankylosing Spondylitis Disease Activity Index (BASDAI) and Spondyloarthritis Research Consortium of Canada (SPARCC) scores.


A total of 77 AS patients with sacroiliitis and 45 healthy controls were enrolled. All patients were scanned by standard magnetic resonance imaging longitudinal relaxation time (T1)-weighted imaging (T1WI), fat-saturated T2-weighted imaging (FS-T2WI)] and DWI, and T2 mapping of the sacroiliac joints. According to whether subchondral bone marrow edema was present in the FS-T2WI sequence, the 77 patients were divided into an active group (41 cases) and an inactive group (36 cases). The T2 and apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) values of the subchondral bone marrow were measured in the active group, the inactive group, and the healthy control group. The average T2 and ADC values were compared among the three groups. Receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curves were used to analyze the diagnostic efficacy of T2 and ADC values for sacroiliitis. The correlations of T2 and ADC values with the BASDAI score and the SPARCC score were analyzed.


The T2 and ADC values in the active group were higher than those in the inactive group, while that in the inactive group were significantly higher than those in the healthy control group (p < 0.0001). The T2 and ADC values of the AS patients were positively correlated with BASDAI scores, and the correlation coefficients (r) were 0.786 (p < 0.0001) and 0.842 (p < 0.0001), respectively. The areas under the ROC curves (AUCs) of T2 and ADC values between the active and inactive groups, the active group and the healthy control group, and the inactive group and the healthy control group were 0.889 (95% CI, 0.80–0.95) and 0.917 (95% CI, 0.83–0.97), 0.982 (95% CI, 0.93–1.00) and 0.984 (95% CI, 0.93–1.00), and 0.628 (95% CI, 0.51–0.73) and 0.871 (95% CI, 0.78–0.94), respectively. The T2 and ADC values of the AS patients in the active group were positively correlated with SPARCC scores, and the correlation coefficients (r) were 0.757 (p < 0.0001) and 0.764 (p < 0.0001), respectively.


T2 and ADC values can be used to quantitatively assess the activity of AS, and the efficacy of the ADC value in the diagnosis of AS was higher than that of the T2 value.

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This work was supported by the Henan Medical Science and Technology Research Program [grant numbers 2018020357 and 2018020367].

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Correspondence to Dongming Han.

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Wang, D., Yin, H., Liu, W. et al. Comparative analysis of the diagnostic values of T2 mapping and diffusion-weighted imaging for sacroiliitis in ankylosing spondylitis. Skeletal Radiol 49, 1597–1606 (2020).

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  • Ankylosing spondylitis
  • Sacroiliitis
  • T2 mapping
  • DWI