Structural and Functional Imaging of Normal Bone Marrow and Evaluation of Its Age-Related Changes

Judy S. Blebea, Mohamed Houseni, Drew A. Torigian, Chengzhong Fan, Ayse Mavi, Ying Zhuge, Tad Iwanaga, Shipra Mishra, Jay Udupa, Jiyuan Zhuang, Rohit Gopal, Abass Alavi

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

103 Scopus citations


A number of noninvasive imaging techniques have been used for the evaluation of bone marrow, including magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and bone marrow scintigraphy. The appearance of bone marrow on MRI varies considerably depending on the proportion of red and yellow marrow, and the composition of the red marrow and its distribution with relation to age and sex. The composition of bone marrow also can vary under physiological and pathological conditions. MRI is a highly sensitive technique for evaluating the bone marrow, but it is limited in its practical use for whole-body bone marrow screening. Bone marrow scintigraphy with radiolabeled compounds such as technetium-99m-labeled nanocolloid and monoclonal antibodies has the advantage of evaluating the entire bone marrow, and has been used for the diagnosis of various bone marrow disorders. In addition, 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography (FDG-PET) imaging can be used to evaluate bone marrow metabolism and disease and to provide information about the state of the primary tumor, lymph nodes, and distant metastases. Understanding of the appearance of normal bone marrow, including age- and sex-specific differences with each of these imaging modalities, is essential to permit accurate diagnosis of benign and malignant bone marrow disorders. We present a review of MRI and scintigraphy of normal bone marrow with some emphasis on FDG-PET imaging in assessing marrow activity in normal and abnormal states and also present preliminary data regarding normal age-related changes in bone marrow through use of FDG-PET, as well as the role of segmentation of bone marrow on MRI for quantitative calculation of the metabolic volumetric product for red marrow metabolism using FDG-PET.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)185-194
Number of pages10
JournalSeminars in Nuclear Medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2007


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