Brain susceptibility changes in a patient with natalizumab-related progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy: A longitudinal quantitative susceptibility mapping and relaxometry study

Giuseppe Pontillo, Sirio Cocozza, Roberta Lanzillo, Pasquale Borrelli, Anna De Rosa, Vincenzo Brescia Morra, Enrico Tedeschi, Giuseppe Palma

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Background: Brain MRI plays an essential role in both diagnosis and follow-up of the JC virus infection of the brain. Recently, MR studies with susceptibility-weighted imaging (SWI) sequences have shown hypointensities in U-fibers adjacent to white matter (WM) lesions of progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML). This finding has been confirmed with the use of quantitative susceptibility mapping (QSM), allowing to hypothesize a paramagnetic effect in these regions. Here, we report the first longitudinal assessment of QSM and R2* maps in natalizumab-associated PML to evaluate serial changes in susceptibility contrast images and their role in PML diagnosis and follow-up. Case presentation: We report the case of a 42-year-old woman with multiple sclerosis (MS) who eventually developed, after the 28th natalizumab infusion, subacute cognitive decline and received a laboratory-confirmed diagnosis of PML, leading to immediate drug discontinuation. Three months later, she suffered a new clinical exacerbation, with a brain scan revealing significant inflammatory activity compatible with the radiological diagnosis of an Immune Reconstitution Inflammatory Syndrome (IRIS). She was then treated with corticosteroids until the clinico-radiological spectrum became stable, with the final outcome of a severe functional impairment. Quantitative maps obtained in the early symptomatic stage clearly showed increased QSM and R2* values in the juxtacortical WM adjacent to PML lesions, which persisted during the subsequent disease course. Discussion and conclusion: High QSM and R2* values in U-fibers adjacent to WM lesions were early and seemingly time-independent radiological findings in the presented PML case. This, coupled to the known absence of significant paramagnetic effect of new active MS lesions, could support the use of quantitative MRI as an additional tool in the diagnosis and follow-up of natalizumab-related PML in MS.

Original languageEnglish
Article number294
JournalFrontiers in Neurology
Volume8
Issue numberJUN
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 19 2017

Keywords

  • MRI
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Neuroimmunology
  • Neuroinflammation
  • Progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy
  • Susceptibility-weighted imaging

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology

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