Journal Article

MTI of white matter hyperintensities

Franz Fazekas, Stefan Ropele, Christian Enzinger, Faton Gorani, Alexandra Seewann, Katja Petrovic and Reinhold Schmidt

in Brain

Published on behalf of The Guarantors of Brain

Volume 128, issue 12, pages 2926-2932
Published in print December 2005 | ISSN: 0006-8950
Published online June 2005 | e-ISSN: 1460-2156 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/brain/awh567
MTI of white matter hyperintensities

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The severity of tissue changes associated with incidental white matter hyperintensities (WMH) in the elderly cannot be sufficiently determined by conventional MRI. We, therefore, performed a regional analysis of the magnetization transfer ratio (MTR) maps obtained on a 1.5 T scanner from 198 neurologically asymptomatic participants of the Austrian Stroke Prevention Study (mean age 70, age range 52–87 years) in regard to WMH and predefined areas of normal appearing brain tissue. Fluid attenuated inversion recovery MRI was used to grade lesion severity and for lesion volume measurements. The MTR of WMH was always significantly lower than that of normal appearing white matter (NAWM) with an overall relative reduction of ∼10% and decreased significantly with increasing scores of WMH severity (P = 0.02) and WMH volume (r = −0.24, P = 0.0016). NAWM MTR was not different between subjects with very few and extensive WMH and the WMH volume was associated with NAWM MTR of the frontal lobes only. Concerning a possible impact on cerebral functioning the MTR of the frontal NAWM was significantly associated with fine motor dexterity (P = 0.04) but not with cognitive performance. A significant decline of the MTR with aging was seen in both NAWM and cortex but not in WMH. We conclude that MTR measurements can serve to quantify WMH associated tissue damage. It is predominantly focal, relatively mild, increases with lesion size and may have remote effects on the frontal white matter.

Keywords: ageing; cerebral small vessel disease; magnetization transfer imaging; white matter injury; ASPS = Austrian Stroke Prevention Study; FLAIR = fluid-attenuated inversion recovery; MS = multiple sclerosis; MTI = magnetization transfer imaging; MTR = magnetization transfer ratio; NAGM = normal appearing grey matter; NAWM = normal appearing white matter; PVH = periventricular hyperintensities; ROI = region of interest; WMH = white matter hyperintensities

Journal Article.  4812 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Neurology ; Neuroscience

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