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Magnetic Resonance Imaging Features of Serous Atrophy of Bone Marrow Fat in the Distal Limb of Three Horses

Sherlock C.E., Mair T.S., Murray R.C., et al.

Veterinary Radiology & Ultrasound, 2010. 51(6): p.607-613.

Abstract: Emaciated human patients have changes in the fat content in medullary bone that are consistent with serous atrophy of the bone marrow histologically. Serous atrophy has been identified at postmortem examination in horses; however, the magnetic resonance (MR) characteristics have not been documented. Herein we describe the abnormalities of the bone marrow and medullary bone detected by low-field and high-field MR imaging of the distal limbs of three emaciated horses. These low- and high-field MR imaging abnormalities are characterized by a decrease in signal intensity on T1-weighted images in combination with an increase in signal intensity on short tau inversion recovery images in all areas of trabecular bone in the distal limbs, in the absence of lameness. Serous atrophy was confirmed microscopically in two horses. Appreciating the sensitivity of MR imaging for detection of bone marrow changes may assist in assessment of fat atrophy in welfare cases where starvation is suspected.