A quantitative evaluation of damage in normal appearing white matter in patients with multiple sclerosis using diffusion tensor MR imaging at 3 T

Acta Neurol Belg. 2015 Jun;115(2):111-6. doi: 10.1007/s13760-014-0338-3. Epub 2014 Jul 30.


The white matter (WM) of the brain is damaged in multiple sclerosis (MS), even in areas that appear normal on standard MR imaging. The purpose of our study is to evaluate the damage of normal appearing white matter (NAWM) in patients with MS. In our study, 84 MS patients and 42 healthy adults underwent a routine brain MRI, including also diffusion tensor imaging (DTI). All studies were performed on a 3 T MRI scanner. Fractional anisotropy (FA) and apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) values were obtained. The DTI parameters of NAWM were correlated with expanded disability status scales (EDSS) scores. Our results showed statistically significant differences in FA and ADC values between MS plaques and the symmetrical NAWM, as also between NAWM and the respective white matter in controls. The ADC values of the NAWM correlated with the EDSS scores. The present study demonstrated damage of the NAWM in MS patients, using DTI in 3.0 T. DTI may be used in the detection of subtle damage of the white matter.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Diffusion Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Disability Evaluation
  • Echo-Planar Imaging
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Imaging, Three-Dimensional
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multiple Sclerosis / diagnosis*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Statistics as Topic
  • White Matter / pathology*
  • Young Adult