Multiple Sclerosis Lesion Geometry in Quantitative Susceptibility Mapping (QSM) and Phase Imaging

J Magn Reson Imaging. 2015 Jul;42(1):224-9. doi: 10.1002/jmri.24745. Epub 2014 Aug 30.


Purpose: To demonstrate the phase and quantitative susceptibility mapping (QSM) patterns created by solid and shell spatial distributions of magnetic susceptibility in multiple sclerosis (MS) lesions.

Materials and methods: Numerical simulations and experimental phantoms of solid- and shell-shaped magnetic susceptibility sources were used to generate magnitude, phase, and QSM images. Imaging of 20 consecutive MS patients was also reviewed for this Institutional Review Board (IRB)-approved MRI study to identify the appearance of solid and shell lesions on phase and QSM images.

Results: Solid and shell susceptibility sources were correctly reconstructed in QSM images, while the corresponding phase images depicted both geometries with shell-like patterns, making the underlying susceptibility distribution difficult to determine using phase alone. In MS patients, of the 60 largest lesions identified on T2 , 30 lesions were detected on both QSM and phase, of which 83% were solid and 17% were shells on QSM, and of which 30% were solid and 70% were shell on phase. Of the 21 shell-like lesions on phase, 76% appeared solid on QSM, 24% appeared shell on QSM. Of the five shell-like lesions on QSM, all were shell-like on phase.

Conclusion: QSM accurately depicts both solid and shell patterns of magnetic susceptibility, while phase imaging fails to distinguish them.

Keywords: iron; multiple sclerosis; phase; quantitative susceptibility mapping.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Algorithms
  • Brain / pathology*
  • Diffusion Tensor Imaging / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Image Enhancement / methods
  • Image Interpretation, Computer-Assisted / methods*
  • Imaging, Three-Dimensional / methods*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multiple Sclerosis / pathology*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • White Matter / pathology*