Myelin Water Measurement in the Spinal Cord

TitleMyelin Water Measurement in the Spinal Cord
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2009
AuthorsMinty, E. P., T. A. Bjarnason, C. Laule, and A. L. MacKay
JournalMagnetic Resonance in Medicine

The desire to monitor the spatial-temporal characteristics of myelination in the spinal cord (SC), in the context of pathological change in demyelinating diseases or proposed neuroregenerative protocols, has led to an interest in noninvasive image-based myelin measurement methods. We present one strategy: a magnetic resonance-based measure that capitalizes on the characteristics of T-2 relaxation of water compartmentalized within tissue. In this study, 32-echo relaxation studies for measuring the myelin water fraction (MWF) were applied in healthy control SC in vivo using a sagittal inversion recovery multiecho sequence, and findings were supported with supplemental studies in bovine SC samples in vitro. Mean human MWF varied according the level of the SC examined: cervical, thoracic, and lumbar MWF was found to be 21.8 (SD = 2.1)%, 24.3 (3.6)%, and 11.4 (6.4)%, respectively. Noteworthy reductions were observed in areas consistent with the expected locations of the cervical and lumbar enlargements. Average bovine MWF was 30.0 (2.7)% in white matter and 8.2 (0.4)% in gray matter. The potential applications of T-2 measurement in SC, both in characterizing disease processes like multiple sclerosis and in monitoring neuroregenerative therapies, should encourage future research in this area. Magn Reson Med 61:883-892, 2009. (C) 2009 Wiley-Liss, Inc.


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