Magnetic resonance imaging of multiple sclerosis at 7.0 Tesla


  • S. Waiczies
  • A. Els
  • J. Kuchling
  • K. Markenroth Bloch
  • A. Pankowska
  • H. Waiczies
  • C. Herrmann
  • C. Chien
  • C. Finke
  • F. Paul
  • T. Niendorf


  • Journal of Visualized Experiments


  • J Vis Exp (168): e62142


  • The overall goal of this article is to demonstrate a state-of-the-art ultrahigh field (UHF) magnetic resonance (MR) protocol of the brain at 7.0 Tesla in multiple sclerosis (MS) patients. MS is a chronic inflammatory, demyelinating, neurodegenerative disease that is characterized by white and gray matter lesions. Detection of spatially and temporally disseminated T2-hyperintense lesions by the use of MRI at 1.5 T and 3 T represents a crucial diagnostic tool in clinical practice to establish accurate diagnosis of MS based on the current version of the 2017 McDonald criteria. However, the differentiation of MS lesions from brain white matter lesions of other origins can sometimes be challenging due to their resembling morphology at lower magnetic field strengths (typically 3 T). Ultrahigh field MR (UHF-MR) benefits from increased signal-to-noise ratio and enhanced spatial resolution, both key to superior imaging for more accurate and definitive diagnoses of subtle lesions. Hence, MRI at 7.0 T has shown encouraging results to overcome the challenges of MS differential diagnosis by providing MS-specific neuroimaging markers (e.g., central vein sign, hypointense rim structures and differentiation of MS grey matter lesions). These markers and others can be identified by other MR contrasts other than T1 and T2 (T2*, phase, diffusion) and substantially improve the differentiation of MS lesions from those occurring in other neuroinflammatory conditions such as neuromyelitis optica and Susac syndrome. In this article, we describe our current technical approach to study cerebral white and grey matter lesions in MS patients at 7.0 T using different MR acquisition methods. The up-to-date protocol includes the preparation of the MR setup including the radio-frequency coils customized for UHF-MR, standardized screening, safety and interview procedures with MS patients, patient positioning in the MR scanner and acquisition of dedicated brain scans tailored for examining MS.