Conflicting MRI signals from gliosis and neuronal vacuolation in prion diseases

Neuroreport. 1999 Nov 26;10(17):3471-7. doi: 10.1097/00001756-199911260-00002.


Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) has given inconsistent results when used as a non-invasive diagnostic tool for Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD). In order to understand this finding, we studied a hamster model of scrapie by in vivo MRI and histopathology. Vacuolation of neurones/neuropil and gliosis were found to correlate with hypo-intense and hyper-intense changes in the conventional T2-weighted MR images, respectively. These opposing effects were shown to give rise to normal images of a scrapie-affected brain undergoing severe neurodegeneration, and may underlie the variability of previous CJD MRI data.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain / pathology*
  • Creutzfeldt-Jakob Syndrome / pathology
  • Cricetinae
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Glial Fibrillary Acidic Protein / analysis
  • Gliosis / pathology*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Neurons / pathology*
  • Scrapie / diagnosis
  • Scrapie / pathology*


  • Glial Fibrillary Acidic Protein