Multi-modal quantitative MRI investigation of brain tissue neurodegeneration in multiple sclerosis.
ABSTRACT To investigate the utility of multimodal quantitative MRI (qMRI) and atlas-based methods to identify characteristics of lesion-driven injury and neurodegeneration in relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS).
This work is health insurance portability and accountability act compliant. High resolution T1-weighted, dual echo, and fluid-attenuated inversion recovery and diffusion tensor MRI images were prospectively acquired on 68 RRMS patients (range, 25-58 years) and 68 age-matched controls. The data were analyzed using standardized human brain atlas-based tissue segmentation procedures to obtain regional volumes and their corresponding T2 relaxation times and DTI maps.
Group-averaged brain atlas-based qMRI maps of T2, fractional anisotropy and diffusivities are visually presented and compared between controls and RRMS. The analysis shows a widespread injury in RRMS. Atrophy of the corpus callosum (CC) was substantial in RRMS. The qMRI attributes of the neocortex in combination with the CC such as T2 and diffusivities were elevated and correlated with disability.
Using a standardized multimodal qMRI acquisition and analyses that accounted for lesion distribution we demonstrate that cerebral pathology is widespread in RRMS. Our analysis of CC and neocortex qMRI metrics in relation to disability points to a neurodegenerative injury component that is independent from lesions.