Normal-appearing white matter changes in multiple sclerosis: The contribution of magnetic resonance techniques

Massimo Filippi, Carla Tortorella, Marco Bozzali

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Several magnetic resonance (MR) techniques have proved to be sensitive enough to detect the subtle pathological changes that post-mortem studies showed to occur in the normal-appearing white matter (NAWM) from patients with multiple sclerosis (MS). Although these abnormalities con be detected in other neurological conditions, they seem to be more frequent and diffuse in MS. However, the contribution of NAWM changes to the diagnosis is still unclear. Their nature is also unknown and perhaps differs in different phases and clinical manifestations of the disease. Nevertheless, the extent and severity of NAWM damage seems to be relevant in causing disability and influencing the clinical evolution in MS patients. This review will summarize the present knowledge about MR-detected NAWM changes in MS and their relevance to the diagnosis and the understanding of disease evolution.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)273-282
Number of pages10
JournalMultiple Sclerosis Journal
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Aug 1999



  • Magnetic resonance imaging
  • Magnetic resonance spectroscopy
  • Magnetization transfer imaging
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Normal-appearing white matter
  • T1 and T2 relaxation times

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology

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