In vivo quantitative whole-brain T1 rho MRI of multiple sclerosis

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To apply quantitative whole-brain T1-rho (T1ρ) and T2 imaging to the detection and quantification of brain changes resulting from multiple sclerosis (MS).


Twenty-three MS patients with clinically isolated syndrome (10) and relapsing remitting MS (13) phenotypes, compared with 24 age-matched healthy controls were imaged at 3 Tesla. An axial T1ρ-weighted three-dimensional turbo spin echo sequence with a variable flip angle and fluid suppression was used. Spin-lock times of 0, 20, 40, 60, 80, and 100 ms were used. Corresponding T2 maps were also acquired.


Whole brain white matter (WM) T1ρ maps were elevated compared with controls (P = 0.002). WM lesion T1ρ and T2 values were highly correlated (r = 0.83), but T1ρ demonstrated 25% better contrast to noise ratio (P < 0.001). WM lesion T1ρ correlated with disease duration. Gray matter T1ρ was negatively correlated with the Expanded Disability Status Scale, r = −0.45, P = 0.03. Normal appearing gray matter and cortical gray matter lesions were negatively correlated on T1ρ, but not on T2 (rT1ρ = −0.63, pT1ρ = 0.03; rT2 = −0.17, pT2 = 0.6).


T1ρ MRI demonstrates enhanced lesion contrast compared with T2, and in some cases may provide complementary information. T1ρ may provide a useful measure of demyelinating processes in MS. J. MAGN. RESON. IMAGING 2015;42:1623–1630.

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