Quantitative susceptibility mapping of both ring and non-ring white matter lesions in relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis Academic Article uri icon

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  • Background

    Recent evidence suggests that the presence of magnetic susceptibility changes in MS lesions correlates with patients' expanded disability status scale (EDSS).


    This study evaluated the presence of ring lesions (RLs) and non-RLs, as well as changes in lesion susceptibility and lesion volume over a two-year time period in relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS) patients and compared these measures to the EDSS.

    Study type

    Longitudinal cohort.

    Materials and methods

    A total of forty-three (43) patients with RRMS were recruited for this study. All subjects underwent 3 T MRI at baseline and forty-one (41) subjects had follow-up scans over a two-year period. The protocol included T2 fluid attenuated inversion recovery (FLAIR), pre- and post-contrast 2D T1-weighted gradient echo imaging and susceptibility weighted imaging (SWI) sequences. All data were acquired prior to gadolinium-based contrast agent injection except for SWI and post-contrast T1-weighted data. Mean and peak susceptibilities of lesions were measured using quantitative susceptibility mapping (QSM). For the RLs, inner-/outer-diameters from SWI data and absolute intensity from the FLAIR data were measured. The susceptibility and volumes of RLs and non-RLs were correlated with EDSS.


    The number of RLs correlated positively with EDSS (p-value = 0.04), but the RL volumes did not show a correlation with EDSS. Measurements of the annular ring and regions with high susceptibility remained constant over time (p = 0.2). For non-ring QSM-positive (QSM+) lesions, the average susceptibility was significantly correlated to EDSS (p < 0.01.) This was also the case for lesion volume, as well as the product of volume and susceptibility when compared to EDSS (p < 0.01 for both).


    The susceptibility distribution and lesion volumes for the RLs remained almost constant over time, suggesting that the changes in pathophysiology of the RLs is a gradual process. On the other hand, the presence of more than one RL along with both volume and susceptibility of non-RL QSM+ lesions were significantly associated with increased disability as measured by EDSS. These findings may strengthen the role of QSM in assessing MS patients radiologically.


  • Coffman, Chad H
  • White, Rebecca
  • Subramanian, Karthik
  • Buch, Sagar
  • Bernitsas, E
  • Haacke, Mark

publication date

  • September 2022