Guttmann CR, Ahn SS, Hsu L, Kikinis R, Jolesz FA
To characterize temporal changes in signal intensity patterns of multiple sclerosis lesions on serial MR.
T1-, T2-, proton density-, and contrast-enhanced T1-weighted MR was performed on five patients with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis at least 22 times in the course of 1 year.
Forty-three enhancing lesions and 1 new lesion that never showed enhancement were detected and followed for periods ranging from approximately 4 weeks to 1 year (total of 702 time points). At first detection the center of new lesions was brighter than the periphery (20 of 24 new lesions on proton density-weighted and 19 of 23 new lesions on contrast-enhanced images). On contrast-enhanced images, ring hyperintensity was predominant at time points later than 29 days. As lesions aged, a residual rim of "nonenhancing" hyperintensity often was noted on contrast-enhanced images. Some older lesions (>1 year) showed similar appearance on unenhanced T1-weighted images. On proton density-weighted images ring hyperintensity was most frequent 2 to 4 months after lesion detection. The estimated average duration of gadopentetate dimeglumine enhancement was 1 to 2 months.
A lesion evolution pattern relevant to MR was inferred. We believe that specific information about the histopathologic evolution of a lesion may be extracted not only from contrast-enhanced but also from nonenhanced serial MR. Assessment of drugs targeting specific phases of lesion evolution could benefit from quantitative pattern analysis of routine MR images.
Department of Radiology, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, MA 02115, USA.