Diffusion-weighted imaging and proton MR spectroscopy in the characterization of acute disseminated encephalomyelitis

Neuroradiology. 2007 Feb;49(2):177-83. doi: 10.1007/s00234-006-0164-2. Epub 2006 Nov 28.

Abstract

Introduction: Acute disseminated encephalomyelitis (ADEM) is usually a monophasic illness characterized by multiple lesions involving gray and white matter. Quantitative MR techniques were used to characterize and stage these lesions.

Methods: Eight patients (seven males and one female; mean age 19 years, range 5 to 36 years) were studied using conventional MRI (T2- and T1-weighted and FLAIR sequences), diffusion-weighted imaging (DWI) and proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS). Apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) values and MRS ratios were calculated for the lesion and for normal-appearing white matter (NAWM). Three patients were imaged in the acute stage (within 7 days of the onset of neurological symptoms) and five in the subacute stage (after 7 days from the onset of symptoms).

Results: ADC values in NAWM were in the range 0.7-1.24 x 10(-3) mm/s2 (mean 0.937 +/- 0.17 mm/s2). ADC values of ADEM lesions in the acute stage were in the range 0.37-0.68 x 10(-3) mm/s2 (mean 0.56 +/- 0.16 mm/s2) and 1.01-1.31 x 10(-3) mm/s2 (mean 1.24 +/- 0.13 mm/s2) in the subacute stage. MRS ratios were obtained for all patients. NAA/Cho ratios were in the range 1.1-3.5 (mean 1.93 +/- 0.86) in the NAWM. NAA/Cho ratios within ADEM lesions in the acute stage were in the range 0.63-1.48 (mean 1.18 +/- 0.48) and 0.29-0.84 (mean 0.49 +/- 0.22) in the subacute stage. The ADC values, NAA/Cho and Cho/Cr ratios were significantly different between lesions in the acute and subacute stages (P < 0.001, P < 0.027, P < 0.047, respectively). ADC values were significantly different between lesions in the acute (P < 0.009) and subacute stages (P < 0.005) with NAWM. In addition, NAA/Cho and Cho/Cr ratios were significantly different between lesions in the subacute stage and NAWM (P < 0.006, P < 0.007, respectively).

Conclusion: ADEM lesions were characterized in the acute stage by restricted diffusion and in the subacute stage by free diffusion and a decrease in NAA/Cho ratios. Restricted diffusion and progressive decrease in NAA/Cho ratios may help in staging the disease.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aspartic Acid / analogs & derivatives
  • Aspartic Acid / metabolism
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Choline / metabolism
  • Creatine / metabolism
  • Diffusion Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Encephalomyelitis, Acute Disseminated / diagnosis*
  • Encephalomyelitis, Acute Disseminated / metabolism
  • Female
  • Health Status Indicators
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy*
  • Male
  • Time Factors

Substances

  • Aspartic Acid
  • N-acetylaspartate
  • Creatine
  • Choline