JOURNAL ARTICLE
RESEARCH SUPPORT, NON-U.S. GOV'T
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Vanishing MS T2-bright lesions before puberty: a distinct MRI phenotype?

Neurology 2008 September 31
BACKGROUND: Multiple sclerosis (MS) onset before puberty may have a distinct clinical presentation. Pediatric patients with MS may less often meet MRI diagnostic criteria for adults. Whether initial MRI presentation is distinct in prepubertal patients is unknown.

METHODS: We queried the UCSF MS database for pediatric patients with MS (onset or=11 years) pediatric MS. The next available brain MRI scan was used to evaluate lesion resolution.

RESULTS: Thirteen children with EOPMS (median age 8.90 years, range [3.58-10.98], 38% girls) and 18 with LOPMS (median age 14.47 years, range [11.78-18.00], 61% girls) were identified. While the overall number of T2-bright lesions was similar in the two groups, patients with EOPMS had fewer well-defined ovoid T2-bright lesions (median = 7, range [0-29] vs 21.5, [4-100]; p = 0.004) and more often had confluent lesions (31% of patients vs 0%; p = 0.02) on their first MRI compared with patients with LOPMS. Ninety-two percent of patients with EOPMS had a reduction in the number of T2-bright lesions on the second scan compared to 29% of patients with LOPMS (p = 0.002).

CONCLUSIONS: The distinct prepubertal multiple sclerosis (MS) MRI phenotype suggests that underlying biologic processes may differ in earlier-onset pediatric MS compared to later-onset pediatric MS. These findings may delay diagnosis in that age range. MRI criteria for MS diagnosis may need to be revised before puberty.

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