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Magnetic resonance imaging of myelin using ultrashort Echo time (UTE) pulse sequences: Phantom, specimen, volunteer and multiple sclerosis patient studies

Vipul Sheth, Hongda Shao, Jun Chen, Scott Vandenberg, Jody Corey-Bloom, Graeme M. Bydder, Jiang Du

NeuroImage, Volume 136, 1 August 2016, Pages 37–44


Clinical magnetic resonance imaging of multiple sclerosis (MS) has focused on indirect imaging of myelin in white matter by detecting signal from protons in the water associated with myelin. Here we show that protons in myelin can be directly imaged using ultrashort echo time (UTE) free induction decay (FID) and imaging sequences on a clinical 3T MR scanner. An adiabatic inversion recovery UTE (IR-UTE) sequence was used to detect signal from myelin and simultaneously suppress signal from water protons. Validation studies were performed on myelin lipid and myelin basic protein (MBP) phantoms in the forms of lyophilized powders as well as suspensions in D2O and H2O. IR-UTE sequences were then used to image MS brain specimens, healthy volunteers, and patients. The T2* of myelin was measured using a UTE FID sequence, as well as UTE and IR-UTE sequences at different TEs. T2* values of ~ 110–330 μs were measured with UTE FID, as well as with UTE and IR-UTE sequences for myelin powders, myelin-D2O and myelin-H2O phantoms, consistent with selective imaging of myelin protons with IR-UTE sequences. Our studies showed myelin selective imaging of white matter in the brains in vitro and in vivo. Complete or partial signal loss was observed in specimens in areas of the brain with histopathologic evidence of myelin loss, and in the brain of patients with MS.

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About the Editors

  • Prof Timothy Vartanian

    Timothy Vartanian, Professor at the Brain and Mind Research Institute and the Department of Neurology, Weill Cornell Medical College, Cornell...
  • Dr Claire S. Riley

    Claire S. Riley, MD is an assistant attending neurologist and assistant professor of neurology in the Neurological Institute, Columbia University,...
  • Dr Rebecca Farber

    Rebecca Farber, MD is an attending neurologist and assistant professor of neurology at the Neurological Institute, Columbia University, in New...

This online Resource Centre has been made possible by a donation from EMD Serono, Inc., a business of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany.

Note that EMD Serono, Inc., has no editorial control or influence over the content of this Resource Centre. The Resource Centre and all content therein are subject to an independent editorial review.

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