In vivo visualization of myelin water in brain by magnetic resonance

Magn Reson Med. 1994 Jun;31(6):673-7. doi: 10.1002/mrm.1910310614.


We exploit the intrinsic difference in magnetic resonance spin-spin relaxation time, T2, between water associated with myelin sheaths and water in other central nervous system tissue in order to measure myelin water content within any region of an image or to generate indirectly a myelin map of the brain. In normal volunteers, myelin water maps give the expected myelin distribution. In multiple sclerosis patients, lesions exhibit different myelin water contents providing insight into the demyelination process unavailable from conventional magnetic resonance images. In vivo myelin measurement has important applications in the clinical management of multiple sclerosis and other white matter diseases.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Body Water / metabolism*
  • Brain / metabolism*
  • Brain / ultrastructure
  • Caudate Nucleus / metabolism
  • Caudate Nucleus / ultrastructure
  • Cerebrospinal Fluid / metabolism
  • Chlorides / chemistry
  • Cytoplasm / metabolism
  • Cytoplasm / ultrastructure
  • Extracellular Space / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Image Enhancement
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy
  • Manganese Compounds / chemistry
  • Models, Structural
  • Myelin Sheath / metabolism*
  • Myelin Sheath / ultrastructure
  • Putamen / metabolism
  • Putamen / ultrastructure
  • Thalamus / metabolism
  • Thalamus / ultrastructure
  • Water


  • Chlorides
  • Manganese Compounds
  • Water
  • manganese chloride