New magnetic resonance imaging biomarkers for the diagnosis of multiple sclerosis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is sensitive in revealing focal white matter (WM) lesions in patients suspected of having multiple sclerosis (MS). As a consequence, MRI has become an established tool in addition to clinical evaluation in the diagnostic work-up of these patients. Areas covered: This review discusses the role of MRI biomarkers in patients at presentation with clinically isolated syndromes (CIS) suggestive of MS. Conventional MRI has been formally included in the diagnostic work-up of these patients, and imaging criteria have been proposed and are updated on a regular basis. Since in patients with established MS, pathologic and MRI studies have demonstrated that the disease affects the normal-appearing WM and gray matter of the brain and spinal cord in a distributed fashion, significant efforts have been devoted to the development of quantitative MR measures, sensitive to damage to these central nervous system compartments, to better characterize lesion burden at disease onset, to differentiate MS from other neurological conditions and to identify objective markers of an unfavorable clinical evolution in the subsequent years. Expert opinion: In addition to clinical measures, conventional MR sequences are the 'reference standard' for diagnosis and monitoring disease progression in patients who present with CIS suggestive of MS. The potential and utility of novel advanced MRI techniques in these patients still need to be fully evaluated.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)109-120
Number of pages12
JournalExpert Opinion on Medical Diagnostics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2012


  • Biomarkers
  • Clinically isolated syndrome
  • Conventional MRI
  • Diagnosis
  • Diffusion tensor MRI
  • Functional MRI
  • Magnetization transfer MRI
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Prognosis
  • Proton MR spectroscopy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Medicine(all)
  • Biochemistry, medical
  • Molecular Medicine


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