MRI method for measuring MS progression validated

December 19, 2013

New imaging research from Western University (London, Canada) has demonstrated that a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) approach called quantitative susceptibility mapping (QSM) can be an important tool for diagnosing and tracking the progression of Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and other neurological diseases. QSM provides a quantitative way to measure myelin content and iron deposition in the brain -important factors in the physiology of MS. The research led by Ravi Menon, PhD, a scientist at Western's Robarts Research Institute, is published in this week's Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

Menon and his associates including first author David Rudko, set out to determine whether QSM was indeed quantitative. Interpretation of QSM data requires the use of a model of the underlying tissue structure. The scientists found that the most common approach to creating QSM images was in fact insufficient to generate quantitative images - that is images in which myelin content and iron can be measured. They demonstrated this by exploring the orientation dependence of the MRI signal. This particular signal has generally thought to be a constant, but the team showed that it depends on tissue orientation in both cortical grey and white matter, but not in the deep brain structures such as the basal ganglia. All these areas are implicated in MS.

They demonstrated the discordance between the models for QSM using a device that rotated a rat's brain so that it could be scanned from 18 different angles, using a 9.4 T MRI. The brains were then sent to histology for comparison. They found the values depended on the microstructure of the brain such as myelin concentration and integrity, and iron deposition. The study also showed, for the first time, the correlation between MRI measurement and histology measurement when the correct model was used.

"With this methodology, we now have a quantitative way to interpret myelin and iron concentrations, and in particular, any changes to them over time," says Menon, who holds a Canada Research Chair in Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging. "We've been doing these scans on MS patients for a while, but nobody knew if it was a valid approach or not. We now know how to interpret the data. It allows us to separate changes in white matter degeneration, from other changes such as iron deposition, which in conventional imaging all looks the same."

Menon says the next step is to use this new imaging approach to study the changes that occur in MS and to find out if it is predictive of disease progression.
-end-


University of Western Ontario

Related Multiple Sclerosis Articles from Brightsurf:

New therapy improves treatment for multiple sclerosis
A new therapy that binds a cytokine to a blood protein shows potential in treating multiple sclerosis, and may even prevent it.

'Reelin' in a new treatment for multiple sclerosis
In an animal model of multiple sclerosis (MS), decreasing the amount of a protein made in the liver significantly protected against development of the disease's characteristic symptoms and promoted recovery in symptomatic animals, UTSW scientists report.

Not all multiple sclerosis-like diseases are alike
Scientists say some myelin-damaging disorders have a distinctive pathology that groups them into a unique disease entity.

New therapeutic options for multiple sclerosis in sight
Strategies for treating multiple sclerosis have so far focused primarily on T and B cells.

Diet has an impact on the multiple sclerosis disease course
The short-chain fatty acid propionic acid influences the intestine-mediated immune regulation in people with multiple sclerosis (MS).

The gut may be involved in the development of multiple sclerosis
It is incompletely understood which factors in patients with multiple sclerosis act as a trigger for the immune system to attack the brain and spinal cord.

Slowing the progression of multiple sclerosis
Over 77,000 Canadians are living with multiple sclerosis, a disease whose causes still remain unknown.

7T MRI offers new insights into multiple sclerosis
Investigators from Brigham and Women's Hospital have completed a new study using 7 Tesla (7T) MRI -- a far more powerful imaging technology -- to further examine LME in MS patients

How to improve multiple sclerosis therapy
Medications currently used to treat multiple sclerosis (MS) can merely reduce relapses during the initial relapsing-remitting phase.

Vaccinations not a risk factor for multiple sclerosis
Data from over 12,000 multiple sclerosis (MS) patients formed the basis of a study by the Technical University of Munich (TUM) which investigated the population's vaccination behavior in relation to MS.

Read More: Multiple Sclerosis News and Multiple Sclerosis Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.