Physiological variation of the vertebral bone marrow water T2 relaxation time

Stefan Ruschke, Jan Syväri, Michael Dieckmeyer, Daniela Junker, Marcus R. Makowski, Thomas Baum, Dimitrios C. Karampinos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


The aim of this study was to investigate physiological variations of the water T2 relaxation time in vertebral bone marrow with respect to age, body mass index (BMI), sex and proton density fat fraction (PDFF) based on single-voxel magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) at 3 T. Multi-TE single-voxel STEAM MRS data of a single lumbar vertebra (L4 or L5) from 260 subjects (160/100 female/male, age: 0.7/37.1/77.7 years, BMI: 13.6/26.2/44.5 kg/m2 [min./median/max.]) with no history of vertebral bone marrow pathologies were retrospectively included. All data were processed using a joint series T2-constrained time domain-based water–fat model. Water T2 and PDFF data were analyzed using (a) Pearson's correlation r and (b) multiple linear regression without interactions of the independent variables. Min./median/max. water T2 and PDFF were 11.2/21.1/42.5 ms and 4.0%/36.8%/82.0%, respectively. Pearson's correlation coefficients were significant (P <.05) for water T2 versus age (r = −0.429/−0.210 female/male) and for water T2 versus PDFF (r = −0.580/−0.546 female/male) for females and males, respectively. Females showed significant higher water T2 values compared with males (P <.001). Multiple linear regression for water T2 without interactions revealed a R2 = 0.407 with PDFF (P <.001) and sex (P <.001) as significant predictors. The current study suggests that under physiological conditions vertebral bone marrow water T2 is negatively correlated with age and PDFF and shows significant differences between females and males. The observed systematic trends are of relevance for the evaluation of T2 values and T2-weighted bone marrow parameters. Further research on the exact mechanisms and drivers of the observed water T2 behavior is required.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere4439
JournalNMR in Biomedicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • 3 T, age, magnetic resonance spectroscopy, proton density fat fraction, sex, STEAM, vertebral bone marrow, water T2


Dive into the research topics of 'Physiological variation of the vertebral bone marrow water T2 relaxation time'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this