Degenerative endplate changes of the lumbosacral spine: Dynamic contrast-enhanced MRI profiles related to age, sex, and spinal level




To investigate differences in perfusion profiles between degenerative endplate marrow changes and normal vertebral marrow in relation to spinal level, age, and sex with dynamic contrast-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging (DCE MRI).

Materials and Methods

Ninety-two consecutive patients referred for evaluation of low back pain or sciatica, without history of malignant or chronic disease, underwent conventional and DCE MRI of the lumbosacral spine. Fifty-two of them demonstrated degenerative endplate marrow changes. Regions of interest were placed on sites of normal marrow (group A) and degenerative changes (group B) on subtracted images. Fitted time-intensity curves (fTICs) were generated and evaluated for curve pattern. Both groups were stratified into upper (L1-L2) and lower (L3-I1) levels, males and females younger or older than 50 years. Perfusion parameters were calculated and statistically compared for both groups and subgroups. Receiver operator curve (ROC) analysis was also performed.


Two fTIC patterns were identified. Perfusion parameters of degenerative changes and normal marrow differed significantly, even when groups were stratified for spinal level, age, and sex (P < 0.05). A time to peak value >108 seconds was characteristic for degenerative changes with sensitivity 69.5% and specificity 84.6%.


DCE MRI profiles of degenerative endplate marrow changes of the lumbosacral spine differ significantly from normal marrow regardless of spinal level, age, or sex. J. Magn. Reson. Imaging 2011;33:382–389. © 2011 Wiley-Liss, Inc.