In vivo visualization of focal demyelination in peripheral nerves by gadofluorine M-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging

Carsten Wessig, Martin Bendszus, Guido Stoll
Experimental Neurology 2007, 204 (1): 14-9
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) allows assessment of axonal nerve lesions, but detection of focal demyelination is still difficult. We have recently shown that the novel micellar magnetic resonance (MR) contrast agent gadofluorine M (Gf) accumulates in nerve fibers undergoing Wallerian degeneration. In the present study, we report on the in vivo visualization of focal demyelination induced by lysolecithin. Upon appropriate intraneural injection, lysolecithin focally dissolves myelin sheaths with sparing of axons. Conventional unenhanced and gadolinium-DTPA enhanced T1-w MRI did not show signal alterations or contrast enhancement. In contrast, application of Gf led to bright contrast enhancement on T1-w images at the site of focal demyelination, but spared distal nerve segments not affected by demyelination. Gf enhancement persisted until remyelination had occurred. Our study shows that areas of focal nerve demyelination can be detected in vivo by Gf-enhanced MRI. This finding opens up a broad spectrum of applications in experimental neurology, and, depending on further clinical development of Gf, may aid in the diagnostic work up of patients with patchy, multifocal demyelinative disorders in the future.

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