A Comparison of Magnetic Resonance Imaging Methods to Assess Multiple Sclerosis Lesions: Implications for Patient Characterization and Clinical Trial Design Academic Article uri icon

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  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a sensitive imaging modality for identifying inflammatory and/or demyelinating lesions, which is critical for a clinical diagnosis of MS and evaluating drug responses. There are many unique means of probing brain tissue status, including conventional T1 and T2 weighted imaging (T1WI, T2WI), T2 fluid attenuated inversion recovery (FLAIR), magnetization transfer, myelin water fraction, diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), phase-sensitive inversion recovery and susceptibility weighted imaging (SWI), but no study has combined all of these modalities into a single well-controlled investigation. The goals of this study were to: compare different MRI measures for lesion visualization and quantification; evaluate the repeatability of various imaging methods in healthy controls; compare quantitative susceptibility mapping (QSM) with myelin water fraction; measure short-term longitudinal changes in the white matter of MS patients and map out the tissue properties of the white matter hyperintensities using STAGE (strategically acquired gradient echo imaging). Additionally, the outcomes of this study were anticipated to aid in the choice of an efficient imaging protocol reducing redundancy of information and alleviating patient burden. Of all the sequences used, T2 FLAIR and T2WI showed the most lesions. To differentiate the putative demyelinating lesions from inflammatory lesions, the fusion of SWI and T2 FLAIR was used. Our study suggests that a practical and efficient imaging protocol combining T2 FLAIR, T1WI and STAGE (with SWI and QSM) can be used to rapidly image MS patients to both find lesions and study the demyelinating and inflammatory characteristics of the lesions.


  • Haacke, Mark
  • Bernitsas, Evanthia
  • Subramanian, Karthik
  • Utriainen, David
  • Palutla, Vinay Kumar
  • Yerramsetty, Kiran
  • Kumar, Prashanth
  • Sethi, Sean K
  • Chen, Yongsheng
  • Latif, Zahid
  • Jella, Pavan
  • Gharabaghi, Sara
  • Wang, Ying
  • Zhang, Xiaomeng
  • Comley, Robert A
  • Beaver, John
  • Luo, Yanping

publication date

  • December 2021