Quantitative magnetic resonance imaging of brainstem volumes, plaques, and surface area in the occipital regions of patients with multiple sclerosis

Acta Radiol. 2006 May;47(4):413-8. doi: 10.1080/02841850600596800.


Purpose: To determine brainstem volumes, number of plaques, and surface areas in the occipital lobes of patients with relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS) and secondary progressive multiple sclerosis (SPMS), and to investigate whether there is any correlation between brainstem volume and the number/surface areas of plaque in the occipital lobes.

Material and methods: Magnetic resonance imaging was obtained on 14 relapsing-remitting (RR) and 13 secondary progressive (SP) MS patients and 26 female control subjects. The Cavalieri method was used by modern design stereology to measure brainstem volume. The point-counting grid was used to evaluate sclerotic plaque surface areas in the occipital lobe. The number of plaques in the imaging section was calculated.

Results: Brainstem volumes for RR and SP with multiple sclerosis and control subjects were 3647 mm3, 3515 mm3, and 4517 mm3, respectively. Mean number of plaques in the right-left occipital lobe was found to be 2.7-3.4 in RR-MS and 5.2-2.8 in SP-MS. Mean plaque surface area in the right-left occipital lobe was determined to be 58.52-88.24 mm2 in RR MS and 124.3-64.82 mm2 in SP MS. Brainstem volumes were significantly reduced in both groups of patients with MS compared to controls (P < 0.01).

Conclusion: Magnetic-resonance-estimated volume and surface area values in multiple sclerosis may facilitate our understanding of the clinical situation of patients and provide a simple index for evaluating therapeutic efficiency.

Publication types

  • Controlled Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Brain Stem / anatomy & histology*
  • Brain Stem / pathology*
  • Disease Progression
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Multiple Sclerosis / pathology*
  • Occipital Lobe / pathology*
  • Parietal Lobe / pathology
  • Reference Values