- •Longitudinal multiparametric 7T MRI may help us in understanding the pathophysiologic processes that drive NMOSD disease.
- •Cerebral lesions in NMOSD are non-associated with iron pathology.
- •No appreciable change in lesion size and lesion-vessel relationship is seen during a course of 2-3-year follow-up period.
- •Asymptomatic cerebral NMOSD lesions, once formed, tend to remain relatively inert.
- •No significant change in brain volume is observed during a short follow-up period.
In neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder (NMOSD), clinical disability in NMOSD patients is relapse-related and progressive phase is rare. This observation raises the question whether there is any radiographic disease activity. The aim of present study was to determine the longitudinal changes in cerebral lesion number, lesion size, lesion-to-venule relationship, and morphological patterns of lesions in NMOSD using multiparametric 7T MR imaging. We also aimed to assess brain volume changes in NMOSD.
A cohort of 22 patients with NMOSD underwent high-resolution 3D-susceptibility weighted imaging (SWI) and 2D-gradient-echo (GRE-T2*) weighted imaging on 7T MRI of brain at baseline and after ~2.8 years of follow-up. Morphologic imaging characteristics, and signal intensity patterns of lesions were recorded at both time points. Lesions were classified as "iron-laden" if they demonstrated hypointense signal on GRE-T2* images and/or SWI as well as hyperintense signal on quantitative susceptibility mapping (QSM). Lesions were considered "non-iron-laden" if they were hyperintense on GRE-T2*/SWI and isointense or hyperintense on QSM. Additionally, fractional brain parenchymal volume (fBPV) was computed at both time points.
A total of 169 lesions were observed at baseline. At follow-up, 6 new lesions were found in 5 patients. In one patient, a single lesion could not be detected on the follow-up scan. No appreciable change in lesion size and vessel-lesion relationship was observed at follow up. All lesions demonstrated hyperintense signal intensity on GRE-T2* weighted images and isointense signal on QSM at both time points. Therefore, these lesions were considered as non-associated with iron pathology. Additionally, no significant change in brain volume was observed: fBPV 0.78 ± 0.06 at baseline vs. 0.77 ± 0.05 at follow up, p>0.05.
Cerebral lesions in NMOSD patients remain ‘inert’ and do not show any substantial variations in morphological characteristics during a 2–3-year follow-up period.
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Published online: March 25, 2020
Accepted: March 20, 2020
Received in revised form: February 19, 2020
Received: December 4, 2019
© 2020 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.