Determining biophysical sensitivity and specificity of quantitative magnetic resonance imaging is essential to develop effective imaging metrics of neurodegeneration. Among these metrics, apparent pool size ratio (PSR) from quantitative magnetization transfer (qMT) imaging and radial diffusivity (RD) from diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) are both known to relate to histological measure of myelin density and integrity. However their relative sensitivities towards quantitative myelin detection are unknown. In this study, we correlated high-resolution quantitative magnetic resonance imaging measures of subvoxel tissue structures with corresponding quantitative myelin histology in a lipopolysaccharide (LPS) mediated animal model of MS. Specifically, we acquired quantitative magnetization transfer (qMT) and diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) metrics (on the same tissue sample) in an animal model system of type III oligodendrogliopathy which lacked prominent lymphocytic infiltration, a system that had not been previously examined with quantitative MRI. We find that the qMT measured apparent pool size ratio (PSR) showed the strongest correlation with a histological measure of myelin content. DTI measured RD showed the next strongest correlation, and other DTI and relaxation parameters (such as the longitudinal relaxation rate (R1f) or fractional anisotropy (FA)) showed considerably weaker correlations with myelin content.Highlights
▸ Metrics from qMT and DTI are correlated with histological measure of myelin. ▸ Demyelination in LPS mediated rat model of type III MS lesions is investigated. ▸ PSR and RD are sensitive to degree of demyelination in LPS mediated lesions. ▸ PSR (qMT) showed greater degree of sensitivity compared to RD (DTI).