PURPOSE - In principle, MR methods that exploit magnetization transfer (MT) may be used to quantify changes in the molecular composition of tissues after injury. The ability to track such changes in injured spinal cord may allow more precise assessment of the state of neural tissues.
METHODS - Z-Spectra were obtained from the cervical spinal cord before and after a unilateral dorsal column lesion in monkeys at 9.4T. The amplitudes of chemical exchange saturation transfer (CEST) and nuclear Overhauser enhancement (NOE) effects from multiple proton pools, along with nonspecific semisolid MT effects from immobile macromolecules, were quantified using a five-peak Lorenzian fitting of each Z-spectrum.
RESULTS - Abnormal tissues/cysts that formed around lesion sites exhibited relatively low correlations between their Z-spectra and that of normal gray matter (GM). Compared with normal GM, cysts showed strong CEST but weak semisolid MT and NOE effects after injury. The abnormal tissues around lesion sites were heterogeneous and showed different regional Z-spectra. Different regional correlations between proton pools were observed. Longitudinally, injured spinal cord tissue exhibited remarkable recovery in all subjects.
CONCLUSION - Characterization of multiple proton pools from Z-spectra permitted noninvasive, regional, quantitative assessments of changes in tissue composition of injured spinal cord over time. Magn Reson Med 79:1070-1082, 2018. © 2017 International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine.
© 2017 International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine.