The "White Gray Sign" Identifies the Central Sulcus on 3T High-Resolution T1-Weighted Images

AJNR Am J Neuroradiol. 2017 Feb;38(2):276-280. doi: 10.3174/ajnr.A5014. Epub 2016 Dec 8.


Background and purpose: The central sulcus is an important anatomic landmark, but most methods of identifying it rely on variable gyral and sulcal patterns. We describe and assess the accuracy of reduced gray-white contrast along the central sulcus, an observation we term the "white gray sign."

Materials and methods: We conducted a retrospective review of 51 fMRIs with a T1-weighted 3D inversion recovery fast-spoiled gradient-echo and concomitant hand-motor fMRI, which served as confirmation for the location of the central sulcus. To measure gray-white contrast across the central and adjacent sulci, we performed a quantitative analysis of 25 normal hemispheres along the anterior and posterior cortices and intervening white matter of the pre- and postcentral gyri. 3D inversion recovery fast-spoiled gradient-echo axial images from 51 fMRIs were then evaluated by 2 raters for the presence of the white gray sign as well as additional established signs of the central sulcus: the bracket, cortical thickness, omega, and T signs.

Results: The mean gray-white contrast along the central sulcus was 0.218 anteriorly and 0.237 posteriorly, compared with 0.320 and 0.295 along the posterior precentral and anterior postcentral sulci, respectively (P < .001). Both raters correctly identified the central sulcus in all 35 normal and 16 abnormal hemispheres. The white gray sign had the highest agreement of all signs between raters and was rated as present the most often among all the signs.

Conclusions: Reduced gray-white contrast around the central sulcus is a reliable sign for identification of the central sulcus on 3D inversion recovery fast-spoiled gradient-echo images.

MeSH terms

  • Anatomic Landmarks / diagnostic imaging*
  • Cerebral Cortex / diagnostic imaging*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Imaging, Three-Dimensional / methods
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Male
  • Neuroimaging / methods*
  • Retrospective Studies