Abnormal subcortical deep-gray matter susceptibility-weighted imaging filtered phase measurements in patients with multiple sclerosis: a case-control study

Neuroimage. 2012 Jan 2;59(1):331-9. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2011.07.045. Epub 2011 Jul 27.


Objective: To investigate abnormal phase on susceptibility-weighted imaging (SWI)-filtered phase images indicative of iron content, in subcortical deep-gray matter (SDGM) of multiple sclerosis (MS) patients and healthy controls (HC), and to explore its relationship with MRI outcomes.

Methods: 169 relapsing-remitting (RR) and 64 secondary-progressive (SP) MS patients, and 126 age- and sex-matched HC were imaged on a 3T scanner. Mean phase of the abnormal phase tissue (MP-APT), normal phase tissue volume (NPTV) and normalized volume were determined for total SDGM, caudate, putamen, globus pallidus, thalamus, pulvinar nucleus of thalamus (PVN), hippocampus, amygdala, nucleus accumbens, red nucleus and substantia nigra. 63 HC were used for establishment of normal reference phase values, while additional 63 HC were used for blinded comparisons with MS patients.

Results: Increased MP-APT, decreased normalized volume and decreased NPTV were detected in total SDGM, caudate, putamen, globus pallidus, thalamus and PVN in MS patients compared to HC (p<.0004). MS patients also showed decreased volume in hippocampus (<.0001) and decreased NPTV in the hippocampus, amygdala and accumbens (<.0004). SPMS patients had increased MP-APT, decreased volume and decreased NPTV in total SDGM, caudate and amygdala compared to RRMS (p<.005), while individual measure differences were also detected in putamen, thalamus, hippocampus and accumbens (p<.006). RRMS patients showed a significant relationship between increased MP-APT and increased lesion burden and more advanced brain atrophy (p<.004).

Conclusions: Abnormal phase, indicative of higher iron content was significantly increased in MS patients compared to HC, and was related to more severe lesion burden and brain atrophy.

MeSH terms

  • Brain / metabolism
  • Brain / pathology*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted / methods*
  • Iron / analysis
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multiple Sclerosis / pathology*


  • Iron