Li Li, Zhiguo Zhou, Wei Xiong, Jicheng Fang, Alessandro Scotti, Mehran Shaghaghi, WenZhen Zhu, Kejia Cai

April 2021, Volume 30, Issue 4, pp 1063 - 1071 Original Article Read Full Article 10.1007/s00586-021-06733-3

First Online: 21 January 2021


Z-spectral MRI data were analyzed to produce multiparametric metabolic and microenvironmental contrasts for identifying intervertebral discs with/without pain symptom and sore pain.


Z-spectra data were collected from the lumbar discs of 26 patients with non-specific chronic low bck pain (CLBP) and 21 asymptomatic controls (AC) with a chemical exchange saturation transfer (CEST). Data were fitted to quantify the CEST effects from glycosaminoglycan, amide proton transfer (APT), nuclear Overhauser enhancement (NOE), semi-solid magnetization transfer contrast effects, and the direct saturation of water. Multiparametric maps were computed from the fitted peak amplitudes, and the average values were calculated from all five lumber discs. Those parameters were compared between the CLBP and AC groups and between the subgroups with and without (Nsore) sore pain.


The discs in symptomatic patients have lower water content, collagen-bound water and collagen than the discs in AC (P 


Z-spectral MRI with its multiparametric metabolic and microenvironmental contrasts has been demonstrated to identify discs with and without pain symptom or sore pain, providing more important information of CLBP.

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