PURPOSE - This study aimed to evaluate the reproducibility and specificity of quantitative magnetization transfer (qMT) imaging for monitoring spinal cord injuries (SCIs).
METHODS - MRI scans were performed in anesthetized monkeys at 9.4T, before and serially after a unilateral lesion of the cervical spinal cord. A two-pool fitting model was used to derive qMT parameters.
RESULTS - qMT measures were reproducible across normal subjects, with an average pool size ratio (PSR) of 0.086 ± 0.003 (mean ± SD) for gray matter, and 0.120 ± 0.005 for white matter, respectively. Compared with normal gray matter, the PSR of abnormal tissues rostral and caudal to the injury site decreased by 19.5% (P < 0.05), while the PSR of the cyst-like volume decreased drastically weeks after SCI. Strong correlations in cyst-like regions were observed between PSR and other MRI measures including longitudinal relaxation rate (R1 ), apparent diffusion coefficient and fractional anisotropy (FA). Decreased PSR and FA values correlated well with demyelination in abnormal tissues.
CONCLUSION - The qMT parameters provide robust and specific information about the molecular and cellular changes produced by SCI. PSR detected demyelination and loss of macromolecules in abnormal tissue regions rostral and caudal to the cyst/lesion sites.
© 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.