Objectives: To investigate whether multiple sclerosis (MS) and non-MS white matter brain lesions can be distinguished by their appearance on 7 T T2*-weighted MRI.
Methods: This was an observational study of 28 patients with MS and 17 patients with cerebral white matter lesions who did not have MS. Subjects were imaged using 7 T T2*-weighted imaging. White matter lesions were identified and analyzed for volume, location, and perivenous appearance.
Results: Out of 901 lesions identified in patients with MS, 80% were perivenous. In comparison, 19% of 428 lesions identified in patients without MS had a perivenous appearance. Seven-Tesla T2*-weighted MRI reliably distinguished all patients with clinically definite MS (>40% lesions appeared perivenous) from those without clinical MS (<40% lesions appeared perivenous). Perivenous lesion appearance was more predictive of MS (odds ratio [OR] 14, p < 0.001) than subcortical or periventricular lesion location (OR 4.5, p < 0.001, and OR 2.4, p = 0.009). Perivenous lesion appearance was observed with a similar frequency in patients with clinically isolated syndrome of demyelination and in early (gadolinium-enhancing) MS lesions.
Conclusion: Perivenous lesion location on 7 T T2*-weighted imaging is predictive of the presence of demyelination. Optimization of this imaging technique at lower magnetic resonance field strengths would offer benefit for the diagnosis of MS.