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More MS news articles for September 2003

Directional diffusion in relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis: A possible in vivo signature of Wallerian degeneration

J Magn Reson Imaging. 2003 Oct;18(4):420-6
Henry RG, Oh J, Nelson SJ, Pelletier D.
Magnetic Resonance Science Center, Department of Radiology, University of California, San Francisco, California.


To examine the role of directional dependence of the apparent diffusion coefficients in the evaluation of normal-appearing brain regions of patients with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis.


The role of diffusion tensor eigenvalues was investigated in the normal-appearing brain regions for 18 patients with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis and 15 age-matched normal controls.


The isotropic apparent diffusion was increased in all regions.

However, reduced anisotropy was significant only in regions with high anisotropy, including the corpus callosum and the internal capsule, and was due to increased diffusion tensor eigenvalues corresponding to diffusion transverse to the fibers without significant increase along the fibers.

This characteristic pattern of changes in diffusion tensor eigenvalues has been observed previously in cases of Wallerian degeneration.

Low-anisotropy regions corresponded to gray matter and gray/white interface regions.

Since fiber tract orientations are not determined for regions of low anisotropy, this characteristic pattern of diffusion change is not detectable in these regions.


Examination of diffusion tensor eigenvectors may provide insight into the changes observed in diffusion and a signature of Wallerian degeneration in the normal-appearing white matter of relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis patients.