BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Contrast-enhancing MS lesions are important markers of active inflammation in the diagnostic work-up of MS and in disease monitoring with MR imaging. Because intravenous contrast agents involve an expense and a potential risk of adverse events, it would be desirable to identify active lesions without using a contrast agent. The purpose of this study was to evaluate whether pre-contrast injection tissue-relaxation rates and proton density of MS lesions, by using a new quantitative MR imaging sequence, can identify active lesions.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: Forty-four patients with a clinical suspicion of MS were studied. MR imaging with a standard clinical MS protocol and a quantitative MR imaging sequence was performed at inclusion (baseline) and after 1 year. ROIs were placed in MS lesions, classified as nonenhancing or enhancing. Longitudinal and transverse relaxation rates, as well as proton density were obtained from the quantitative MR imaging sequence. Statistical analyses of ROI values were performed by using a mixed linear model, logistic regression, and receiver operating characteristic analysis.
RESULTS: Enhancing lesions had a significantly (P < .001) higher mean longitudinal relaxation rate (1.22 ± 0.36 versus 0.89 ± 0.24), a higher mean transverse relaxation rate (9.8 ± 2.6 versus 7.4 ± 1.9), and a lower mean proton density (77 ± 11.2 versus 90 ± 8.4) than nonenhancing lesions. An area under the receiver operating characteristic curve value of 0.832 was obtained.
CONCLUSIONS: Contrast-enhancing MS lesions often have proton density and relaxation times that differ from those in nonenhancing lesions, with lower proton density and shorter relaxation times in enhancing lesions compared with nonenhancing lesions.
2016. Vol. 37, no 1, 94-100 p.