Neurite density explains cortical T1-weighted/T2-weighted ratio in multiple sclerosis

Introduction

The ratio between T1-weighted (T1w) and T2-weighted (T2w) sequences (T1w/T2w-ratio) has been proposed to enhance myelin sensitivity and specificity.1 However, studies assessing its histopathological substrates in multiple sclerosis (MS) found contradictory results. One study reported lower T1w/T2w-ratio in demyelinated versus normal-appearing cortex, but neurite density was not investigated.2 In another study, T1w/T2w-ratio correlated with dendrite but not myelin density; however, only normal-appearing cortex was evaluated.3 Both myelin and neurite density could influence T1w/T2w-ratio.4 Since T1w/T2w-ratio is derived from commonly acquired sequences and seems sensitive to cortical damage, its pathological validation is strongly needed before its wider application.

In this post-mortem MRI/histopathology study, we evaluated normal-appearing and demyelinated cortices from non-neurological controls (nNC) and patients with MS (PwMS) to define whether myelin and/or neurite density were associated with T1w/T2w-ratio.

MethodsDonors

PwMS were collected by the Netherlands Brain Bank (http://www.brainbank.nl/), while nNC…

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