Background: Gray matter lesions are known to be common in multiple sclerosis (MS) and are suspected to play an important role in disease progression and clinical disability. A combination of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) techniques, double-inversion recovery (DIR), and phase-sensitive inversion recovery (PSIR), has been used for detection and classification of cortical lesions. This study shows that high-resolution three-dimensional (3D) magnetization-prepared rapid acquisition with gradient echo (MPRAGE) improves the classification of cortical lesions by allowing more accurate anatomic localization of lesion morphology.
Methods: 11 patients with MS with previously identified cortical lesions were scanned using DIR, PSIR, and 3D MPRAGE. Lesions were identified on DIR and PSIR and classified as purely intracortical or mixed. MPRAGE images were then examined, and lesions were re-classified based on the new information.
Results: The high signal-to-noise ratio, fine anatomic detail, and clear gray-white matter tissue contrast seen in the MPRAGE images provided superior delineation of lesion borders and surrounding gray-white matter junction, improving classification accuracy. 119 lesions were identified as either intracortical or mixed on DIR/PSIR. In 89 cases, MPRAGE confirmed the classification by DIR/PSIR. In 30 cases, MPRAGE overturned the original classification.
Conclusion: Improved classification of cortical lesions was realized by inclusion of high-spatial resolution 3D MPRAGE. This sequence provides unique detail on lesion morphology that is necessary for accurate classification.