Understanding the pathogenesis of neuroinflammation using magnetic resonance imaging


  • S. Waiczies
  • H. Waiczies


  • Malta Medical Journal


  • Malta Med J 23 (3): 56


  • A non-invasive view of the brain with the aid of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is invaluable for studying pathological processes during autoimmune encephalomyelitis. Several MRI technologies are available that can be employed to study inflammation within the brain. These include labeling of inflammatory cells with paramagnetic contrast agents (such as USPIO/SPIO/VSOP iron-oxide or perfluoro carbon (PFC)-rich nanoparticles) and new tools that facilitate high resolution imaging particularly MR microscopy (µMRI, microscopic MRI; MR histology). In this review we will go into both MRI technologies, with a special focus on their applicability in studying brain inflammation in the experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE). Regarding cell labeling we will focus on PFC nanoparticles and fluorine (19F) MRI since these have introduced a number of advantages over T2*-weighted MRI with paramagnetic iron-oxide nanoparticles. Another MRI technology that we will be discussing is high resolution µMRI with cryogenically-cooled RF coils. This technology will enable neuroscientists to achieve a comprehensive, detailed and non-invasive view of the brain within short acquisition times: an important practical consideration when conducting longitudinal studies on the kinetics and dynamics of immune cell infiltration into the brain.