Evaluation of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis-Induced Muscle Degeneration Using Magnetic Resonance-Based Relaxivity Contrast Imaging (RCI)

Tomography. 2021 May 5;7(2):169-179. doi: 10.3390/tomography7020015.

Abstract

(1) Background: This work characterizes the sensitivity of magnetic resonance-based Relaxivity Contrast Imaging (RCI) to Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)-induced changes in myofiber microstructure. Transverse Relaxivity at Tracer Equilibrium (TRATE), an RCI-based parameter, was evaluated in the lower extremities of ALS patients and healthy subjects. (2) Methods: In this IRB-approved study, 23 subjects (12 ALS patients and 11 healthy controls) were scanned at 3T (Philips, The Netherlands). RCI data were obtained during injection of a gadolinium-based contrast agent. TRATE, fat fraction and T2 measures, were compared in five muscle groups of the calf muscle, between ALS and control populations. TRATE was also evaluated longitudinally (baseline and 6 months) and was compared to clinical measures, namely ALS Functional Rating Scale (ALSFRS-R) and Hand-Held Dynamometry (HHD), in a subset of the ALS population. (3) Results: TRATE was significantly lower (p < 0.001) in ALS-affected muscle than in healthy muscle in all muscle groups. Fat fraction differences between ALS and healthy muscle were statistically significant for the tibialis anterior (p = 0.01), tibialis posterior (p = 0.004), and peroneus longus (p = 0.02) muscle groups but were not statistically significant for the medial (p = 0.07) and lateral gastrocnemius (p = 0.06) muscles. T2 differences between ALS and healthy muscle were statistically significant for the tibialis anterior (p = 0.004), peroneus longus (p = 0.004) and lateral gastrocnemius (p = 0.03) muscle groups but were not statistically significant for the tibialis posterior (p = 0.06) and medial gastrocnemius (p = 0.07) muscles. Longitudinally, TRATE, averaged over all patients, decreased by 28 ± 16% in the tibialis anterior, 47 ± 18% in the peroneus longus, 25 ± 19% in the tibialis posterior, 29 ± 14% in the medial gastrocnemius and 35 ± 18% in the lateral gastrocnemius muscles between two timepoints. ALSFRS-R scores were stable in two of four ALS patients. HHD scores decreased in three of four ALS patients. (4) Conclusion: RCI-based TRATE was shown to consistently differentiate ALS-affected muscle from healthy muscle and also provide a quantitative measure of longitudinal muscle degeneration.

Keywords: ALS; TRATE; muscle myofiber; perfusion MRI; relaxivity contrast imaging.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis* / diagnostic imaging
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy
  • Muscle, Skeletal / diagnostic imaging
  • Netherlands