Visualizing iron in multiple sclerosis

Magn Reson Imaging. 2013 Apr;31(3):376-84. doi: 10.1016/j.mri.2012.11.011. Epub 2013 Jan 22.


Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) protocols that are designed to be sensitive to iron typically take advantage of (1) iron effects on the relaxation of water protons and/or (2) iron-induced local magnetic field susceptibility changes. Increasing evidence sustains the notion that imaging iron in brain of patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) may add some specificity toward the identification of the disease pathology. The present review summarizes currently reported in vivo and post mortem MRI evidence of (1) iron detection in white matter and gray matter of MS brains, (2) pathological and physiological correlates of iron as disclosed by imaging and (3) relations between iron accumulation and disease progression as measured by clinical metrics.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Brain / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Iron / analysis*
  • Iron Overload / complications
  • Iron Overload / diagnosis*
  • Iron Overload / metabolism*
  • Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy / methods
  • Molecular Imaging / methods
  • Multiple Sclerosis / complications
  • Multiple Sclerosis / diagnosis*
  • Multiple Sclerosis / metabolism*
  • Neuroimaging / methods*
  • Tissue Distribution


  • Iron