Quantitative 7T MRI does not detect occult brain damage in neuromyelitis optica


  • B. Pasquier
  • N. Borisow
  • L. Rasche
  • J. Bellmann-Strobl
  • K. Ruprecht
  • T. Niendorf
  • T.J. Derfuss
  • J. Wuerfel
  • F. Paul
  • T. Sinnecker


  • Neurology Neuroimmunology & Neuroinflammation


  • Neurol Neuroimmunol Neuroinflamm 6 (3): e541


  • Objective: To investigate and compare occult damages in aquaporin-4 (AQP4)-rich periependymal regions in patients with neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder (NMOSD) vs healthy controls (HCs) and patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) applying quantitative T1 mapping at 7 Tesla (T) in a cross-sectional study. Methods: Eleven patients with NMOSD (median Expanded Disability Status Scale [EDSS] score 3.5, disease duration 9.3 years, age 43.7 years, and 11 female) seropositive for anti-AQP4 antibodies, 7 patients with MS (median EDSS score 1.5, disease duration 3.6, age 30.2 years, and 4 female), and 10 HCs underwent 7T MRI. The imaging protocol included T2*-weighted (w) imaging and an MP2RAGE sequence yielding 3D T1w images and quantitative T1 maps. We semiautomatically marked the lesion-free periependymal area around the cerebral aqueduct and the lateral, third, and fourth ventricles to finally measure and compare the T1 relaxation time within these areas. Results: We did not observe any differences in the T1 relaxation time between patients with NMOSD and HCs (all > 0.05). Contrarily, the T1 relaxation time was longer in patients with MS vs patients with NMOSD (lateral ventricle = 0.056, third ventricle = 0.173, fourth ventricle = 0.016, and cerebral aqueduct = 0.048) and vs HCs (third ventricle = 0.027, fourth ventricle = 0.013, lateral ventricle = 0.043, and cerebral aqueduct = 0.005). Conclusion: Unlike in MS, we did not observe subtle T1 changes in lesion-free periependymal regions in NMOSD, which supports the hypothesis of a rather focal than diffuse brain pathology in NMOSD.