Objective: To identify gadolinium-enhancing lesions affecting the cortex of patients with early multiple sclerosis (MS) and to describe the frequency and evolution of these lesions.
Methods: We performed a retrospective, observational, longitudinal analysis of MRI scans collected as part of the Betaseron vs Copaxone in Multiple Sclerosis with Triple-Dose Gadolinium and 3T MRI Endpoints (BECOME) study. Seventy-five patients with early-stage MS were scanned monthly, over a period of 12-24 months, using 3T MRI after administration of triple-dose gadolinium. A total of 1,188 scans were included in the analysis. A total of 139 were selected using an image pipeline algorithm that integrated the image information from cortical gray matter masks and gadolinium-enhancing lesion masks. These scans were evaluated to identify gadolinium-enhancing lesions affecting the cortex.
Results: The total number of gadolinium-enhancing lesions was 2,044. The number of gadolinium-enhancing lesions affecting the cortex was 120 (6%), 95% of which were leukocortical. The number of patients who showed gadolinium-enhancing lesions affecting the cortex was 27 (36%). The number of gadolinium-enhancing lesions affecting the cortex at baseline was 25 (21%) and the number of new lesions that developed in follow-up scans was 49 (41%). The number of persistent lesions was 46 (38%).
Conclusions: The presence of enhancing lesions affecting the cortex and adjacent white matter, although transient and not frequent, suggests that at least some cortical lesions are related to blood-brain barrier disruption. Our data support the concept that there may be an acute inflammatory phase in the development of leukocortical MS lesions.
Clinicaltrialsgov identifier: NCT00176592.
© 2017 American Academy of Neurology.