Multiple Sclerosis: Improved Detection of Active Cerebral Lesions With 3-Dimensional T1 Black-Blood Magnetic Resonance Imaging Compared With Conventional 3-Dimensional T1 GRE Imaging

Invest Radiol. 2018 Jan;53(1):13-19. doi: 10.1097/RLI.0000000000000410.


Objectives: The aim of this study was to assess the diagnostic accuracy of a modified high-resolution whole-brain three-dimensional T1-weighted black-blood sequence (T1-weighted modified volumetric isotropic turbo spin echo acquisition [T1-mVISTA]) in comparison to a standard three-dimensional T1-weighted magnetization-prepared rapid gradient echo (MP-RAGE) sequence for detection of contrast-enhancing cerebral lesions in patients with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (MS).

Materials and methods: After institutional review board approval and informed consent, 22 patients (8 men; aged 31.0 ± 9.2 years) with relapsing-remitting MS were included in this monocentric prospective cohort study.Contrast-enhanced T1-mVISTA and MP-RAGE, both with 0.8 mm resolution, were performed in all patients. In a substudy of 12 patients, T1-mVISTA was compared with a T1-mVISTA with 1.0 mm resolution (T1-mVISTA_1.0). Reference lesions were defined by an experienced neuroradiologist using all available sequences and served as the criterion standard. T1-mVISTA, T1-mVISTA_1.0, and MP-RAGE sequences were read in random order 4 weeks apart. Image quality, visual contrast enhancement, contrast-to-noise-ratio (CNR), diagnostic confidence, and lesion size were assessed and compared by Wilcoxon and Mann-Whitney U tests.

Results: Eleven of 22 patients displayed contrast-enhancing lesions. Visual contrast enhancement, CNR, and diagnostic confidence of contrast-enhancing MS lesions were significantly increased in T1-mVISTA compared with MP-RAGE (P < 0.001). Significantly more contrast-enhancing lesions were detected with T1-mVISTA than with MP-RAGE (71 vs 39, respectively; P < 0.001). With MP-RAGE, 25.6% of lesions were missed in the initial reading, whereas only 4.2% of lesions were missed with T1-mVISTA. Increase of the voxel volume from 0.8 mm to 1.0 mm isotropic in T1-mVISTA_1.0 did not affect the detectability of lesions, whereas scan time was decreased from 4:43 to 1:55 minutes.

Conclusions: Three-dimensional T1-mVISTA improves the detection rates of contrast-enhancing cerebral MS lesions compared with conventional 3D MP-RAGE sequences by increasing CNR of lesions and might, therefore, be useful in patient management.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Brain / diagnostic imaging
  • Brain / pathology
  • Cohort Studies
  • Contrast Media*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Image Enhancement / methods*
  • Imaging, Three-Dimensional / methods*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Male
  • Multiple Sclerosis, Relapsing-Remitting / diagnostic imaging*
  • Multiple Sclerosis, Relapsing-Remitting / pathology
  • Prospective Studies
  • Reproducibility of Results


  • Contrast Media