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Abstract #1184

New potential MRI markers of glial scarring and tissue damage in multiple sclerosis spinal cord pathology using diffusion MRI

Marco Palombo1, Francesco Grussu1,2, Torben Schneider1,2,3, Gabriele C. DeLuca4, Daniel C. Alexander1, Claudia A. M. Gandini Wheeler-Kingshott2,5,6, and Hui Zhang1
1Centre for Medical Image Computing, Department of Computer Science, University College London, London, United Kingdom, 2NMR Research Unit, Queen Square MS Centre, Queen Square Institute of Neurology, Faculty of Brain Sciences, University College London, London, United Kingdom, 3Philips UK, Guildford, Surrey, United Kingdom, 4Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences, University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom, 5Department of Brain and Behavioural Sciences, University of Pavia, Pavia, Italy, 6Brain MRI 3T Center, IRCCS Mondino Foundation, Pavia, Italy

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is characterized by demyelination, extra-cellular matrix disruption, inflammation and astrocytic scarring of WM lesions. This study investigates the use of a recently introduced MRI technique called SANDI (Soma And Neurite Density Imaging) to provide histologically meaningful estimates of cell body (namely soma) density in MS spinal cord pathology. Our results on ex-vivo human spinal cord specimens show significant positive correlation between SANDI metrics (fneurite and fsoma) and histological markers of myelination (plp) and astrocytes reactivity (gfap), respectively. The study suggests SANDI metrics as complementary imaging markers of demyelination (fneurite), astrocytic scarring (fsoma) and extra-cellular matrix disruption (fextra).

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