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Neurology

A pathology-MRI study of the short-T2 component in formalin-fixed multiple sclerosis brain.


PMID 11094105

Abstract

To determine the pathologic basis of areas not exhibiting signal of the short-T2 component of the T2 relaxation distribution in MS, as studied in formalin-fixed brain. A myelin-specific MRI signal would be of great importance in assessing demyelination in patients with MS. Evidence indicates that the short-T2 (10 to 50 millisecond) component of the T2 relaxation distribution originates from water in myelin sheaths. The authors present two cases of MS in which the anatomic distribution of the short-T2 component was correlated with the pathologic findings in postmortem formalin-fixed brain. One half of the formalin-fixed brain was suspended in a gelatin-albumin mixture cross-linked with glutaraldehyde, and scanned with a 32-echo MRI sequence. The brain was then cut along the center of the 5-mm slices scanned, photographed, dehydrated, and embedded in paraffin. Paraffin sections, stained with Luxol fast blue and immunocytochemically for 2',3'-cyclic nucleotide 3'-phosphohydrolase for myelin and by the Bielschowsky technique for axons, were compared with the distribution of the amplitude of the short-T2 component of the comparable image slices. The anatomic distribution of the short-T2 component signal corresponded to the myelin distribution. Chronic, silent MS plaques with myelin loss correlated with areas of absence of short-T2 signal. The numbers of axons within lesions were reduced, but many surviving axons were also seen in these areas of complete loss of myelin. In formalin-fixed MS brains the short-T2 component of the T2 relaxation distribution corresponds to the anatomic distribution of myelin. Chronic, silent demyelinated MS plaques show absence of the short-T2 component signal. These results support the hypothesis that the short-T2 component originates from water related to myelin.-1510