Magnetization transfer contrast (MTC) and long repetition time spin-echo MR imaging in multiple sclerosis

J H van Waesberghe, J A Castelijns, R H Lazeron, G J Lycklama à Nijeholt, F Barkhof

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PURPOSE: To study whether application of magnetization transfer contrast (MTC) improves visibility and detection of multiple sclerosis (MS) lesions on long repetition time (TR) conventional spin-echo (CSE) or fast spin-echo (FSE) magnetic resonance (MR) imaging.

MATERIAL AND METHODS: In 20 patients and 5 controls, MR images were obtained using long repetition time CSE and FSE sequences with and without MTC. Signal-to-noise ratios of normal appearing white matter (NAWM) and selected lesions, and contrast-to-noise ratios between lesions and NAWM, were calculated. Lesions were counted and total lesion volume was measured in a blinded fashion for each sequence.

RESULTS: In controls, MT effect in white matter (16.3% vs. 12.2%) was higher for CSE than for FSE (p < 0.01). Application of MTC to either CSE or FSE resulted in a significantly lower decrease in signal intensity of NAWM in patients compared to white matter in controls (p < 0.01). Furthermore, in patients signal intensity of lesions was less decreased than signal intensity of NAWM (p < 0.01). Compared to sequences without MTC, contrast-to-noise ratios were significantly higher on both CSE (10.9%) and FSE (6.3%) when MTC was applied (p < 0.01). Despite better visibility, the number of lesions detected on either sequences did not increase when MTC was applied. For CSE with MTC, we found an almost equal number of lesions and for FSE with MTC, we found even less lesions (p < 0.01). Total lesion volume did not change significantly when MTC was applied.

CONCLUSION: Although contrast between lesions and NAWM improved when magnetization transfer contrast was applied, this did not increase detection of MS lesions on either CSE or FSE MR imaging.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)351-8
Number of pages8
JournalMagnetic Resonance Imaging
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - May 1998

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