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Myelin water and T(2) relaxation measurements in the healthy cervical spinal cord at 3.0T: repeatability and changes with age


MacMillan, E L; Mädler, B; Fichtner, N; Dvorak, M F; Li, D K B; Curt, A; MacKay, A L (2011). Myelin water and T(2) relaxation measurements in the healthy cervical spinal cord at 3.0T: repeatability and changes with age. NeuroImage, 54(2):1083-1090.

Abstract

Multiecho T(2) relaxation measurements offer specific information about myelin content through the myelin water fraction (MWF), as well as about the water environments through the intra- and extra-cellular (IE), and global, geometric mean T(2) (GMT(2)) times. While these measurements have yielded new insights into brain development and pathologies, they have yet to be thoroughly investigated in the spinal cord. The goals of this study were: (1) to apply a new 3D multiecho T(2) relaxation measurement in the cervical spine with sufficient axial resolution to distinguish grey and white matter; (2) to perform a pilot reliability assessment of the resulting MWF and GMT(2) measures in a target population; and (3) to detect differences in these measures between a younger cohort (20-30 years of age) and an older cohort (50-75 years of age) of healthy adults. The results demonstrated that the MWF in younger healthy adults follows the known pattern of lower myelin content in grey matter (mean (95% confidence interval)) (0.049 (0.030-0.067)) as compared to white matter (0.296 (0.275-0.317), p<0.001). The reliability coefficients were 0.65 and 0.82 for the MWF in the dorsal (DC) and lateral column (LC) white matter, respectively; 0.79 and 0.52 for the IE GMT(2); and 0.74 and 0.73 for the global GMT(2). Significantly lower MWF were found in the older adults than in the younger adults (DC p=0.014; LC p=0.012), as well as lower IE GMT(2) times (DC p=0.008; LC p=0.042), however, the global GMT(2) times did not show any differences. These changes in MWF and IE GMT(2) times, but not in global GMT(2) times, indicate that multiecho T(2) relaxation measures are sensitive to changes in myelin integrity and cell morphology that may not be apparent on conventional T(2) weighted images.

Abstract

Multiecho T(2) relaxation measurements offer specific information about myelin content through the myelin water fraction (MWF), as well as about the water environments through the intra- and extra-cellular (IE), and global, geometric mean T(2) (GMT(2)) times. While these measurements have yielded new insights into brain development and pathologies, they have yet to be thoroughly investigated in the spinal cord. The goals of this study were: (1) to apply a new 3D multiecho T(2) relaxation measurement in the cervical spine with sufficient axial resolution to distinguish grey and white matter; (2) to perform a pilot reliability assessment of the resulting MWF and GMT(2) measures in a target population; and (3) to detect differences in these measures between a younger cohort (20-30 years of age) and an older cohort (50-75 years of age) of healthy adults. The results demonstrated that the MWF in younger healthy adults follows the known pattern of lower myelin content in grey matter (mean (95% confidence interval)) (0.049 (0.030-0.067)) as compared to white matter (0.296 (0.275-0.317), p<0.001). The reliability coefficients were 0.65 and 0.82 for the MWF in the dorsal (DC) and lateral column (LC) white matter, respectively; 0.79 and 0.52 for the IE GMT(2); and 0.74 and 0.73 for the global GMT(2). Significantly lower MWF were found in the older adults than in the younger adults (DC p=0.014; LC p=0.012), as well as lower IE GMT(2) times (DC p=0.008; LC p=0.042), however, the global GMT(2) times did not show any differences. These changes in MWF and IE GMT(2) times, but not in global GMT(2) times, indicate that multiecho T(2) relaxation measures are sensitive to changes in myelin integrity and cell morphology that may not be apparent on conventional T(2) weighted images.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Balgrist University Hospital, Swiss Spinal Cord Injury Center
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Date:15 January 2011
Deposited On:12 Mar 2011 07:26
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 14:41
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:1053-8119
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuroimage.2010.08.076
PubMed ID:20832480

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