3 Tesla and 7 Tesla MRI of multiple sclerosis cortical lesions

J Magn Reson Imaging. 2010 Oct;32(4):971-7. doi: 10.1002/jmri.22115.


Cortical lesions are prevalent in multiple sclerosis but are poorly detected using MRI. The double inversion recovery (DIR) sequence is increasingly used to explore the clinical relevance of cortical demyelination. Here we evaluate the agreement between imaging sequences at 3 Tesla (T) and 7T for the presence and appearance of individual multiple sclerosis cortical lesions. Eleven patients with demyelinating disease and eight healthy volunteers underwent MR imaging at 3T (fluid attenuated inversion recovery [FLAIR], DIR, and T(1)-weighted magnetization prepared rapid acquisition gradient echo [MP-RAGE] sequences) and 7T (T(1)-weighted MP-RAGE). There was good agreement between images for the presence of mixed cortical lesions (involving both gray and white matter). However, agreement between imaging sequences was less good for purely intracortical lesions. Even after retrospective analysis, 25% of cortical lesions could only be visualized on a single MRI sequence. Several DIR hyperintensities thought to represent cortical lesions were found to correspond to signal arising from extracortical blood vessels. High-resolution 7T imaging appeared useful for confidently classifying the location of lesions in relation to the cortical/subcortical boundary. We conclude that DIR, FLAIR, and MP-RAGE imaging sequences appear to provide complementary information during the detection of multiple sclerosis cortical lesions. High resolution 7T imaging may facilitate anatomical localization of lesions in relation to the cortical boundary.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Brain / pathology
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cerebral Cortex / pathology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted / methods*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multiple Sclerosis / pathology*
  • Nerve Fibers, Myelinated / pathology*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Retrospective Studies