Myelin volume fraction imaging with MRI

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MRI is a valuable tool to assess myelin during development and demyelinating disease processes. While multiexponential T2 and quantitative magnetization transfer measures correlate with myelin content, neither provides the total myelin volume fraction. In many cases correlative measures are adequate; but to assess microstructure of myelin, (e.g. calculate the g-ratio using MRI), an accurate measure of myelin volume fraction is imperative. Using a volumetric model of white matter, we relate MRI measures of myelin to absolute measures of myelin volume fraction and compare them to quantitative histology. We assess our approach in control mice along with two models of hypomyelination and one model of hypermyelination and find strong agreement between MRI and histology amongst models. This work investigates the sensitivities of MRI myelin measures to changes in axon geometry and displays promise for estimating g-ratio from MRI.Graphical abstract

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