Relative contributions of brain and cervical cord pathology to multiple sclerosis disability: A study with magnetisation transfer ratio histogram analysis

Marco Rovaris, Marco Bozzali, Giuseppe Santuccio, Giuseppe Iannucci, Maria Pia Sormani, Bruno Colombo, Giancarlo Comi, Massimo Filippi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Objective - To assess (a) the correlations between magnetisation transfer ratio (MTR) histogram derived measures of the brain and the cervical cord from patients with different multiple sclerosis pheno-types and (b) the correlation between these metrics and clinical disability. Magnetisation transfer imaging is sensitive to the most destructive aspects of multiple sclerosis pathology. Magnetisation transfer ratio histogram analysis encompasses the macroscopic and the microscopic lesion burdens. Methods - Seventy seven patients with multiple sclerosis were studied (40 relapsing-remitting (RR), 28 secondary progressive (SP), and nine primary progressive (PP)). For the brain, we obtained dual echo, T1 weighted, and gradient echo (GE) scans (with and without an MT saturation pulse). For the cervical cord, fast short tau inversion recovery (STIR) and GE scans (with and without an MT saturation pulse) were obtained. Brain T2 and T1 weighted lesion volumes (LVs) were measured. The number and length of cord lesions on fast STIR scans were assessed. Magnetisation transfer ratio maps were created from GE images and MTR histograms of the entire brain and cervical cord were obtained. Results - Brain T1 LV, and number and size of cord lesions were significantly higher and brain MTR histogram peak location was significantly lower in patients with SPMS than those with RRMS or PPMS. Cord MTR histogram peak location was also significantly lower in patients with SPMS than in those with RRMS. The univariate correlations between MTR histogram derived metrics obtained from the brain and the cervical cord were all non-significant, with the exception of that between average brain MTR and cord MTR histogram peak location. On a multivariable analysis, both increasing brain T2 LV and decreasing cord MTR histogram peak location values were significantly associated with a higher probability for patients to have SPMS or to have locomotor disability. Conclusions - This study shows that the extent and severity of tissue damage in the brain and cervical cord are both relevant to determine disability in multiple sclerosis and that the assessment of brain and cord pathology provides complementary information.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)723-727
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry
Volume69
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2000

Keywords

  • Brain
  • Cervical cord
  • Histogram analysis
  • Magnetic resonance imaging
  • Magnetisation transfer imaging
  • Multiple sclerosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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