Thirteen patients with definite multiple sclerosis (MS), studied 16-24 months previously with magnetic resonance (MR) imaging with and without enhancement by intravenously administered gadolinium diethylenetriaminepentaacetic acid (DTPA) dimeglumine, were reexamined with a similar protocol. Assessment of enhancement and clinical activity in both studies revealed that enhancement was observed in 13 of 14 cases in which clinical activity had changed within 4 weeks of the study and thus appeared more sensitive than clinical examination in determining active disease. The 3-minute postinjection, short repetition time image (TR) was the most efficient for depicting enhancement. Enhancing lesions (active plaques) arose from previously hyper- or isointense regions on long TR images. Previously active lesions reverted to areas of iso- or hyperintensity on long TR images. Serial comparison of long TR images in this population reveals a decrease in high-intensity lesions on long TR images in some cases and an increase in others. The findings of high-intensity regions on long TR images and previously enhancing lesions both becoming isointense suggests that transient inflammatory changes with concomitant edema without demyelination and/or with significant remyelination may occur in some MS lesions. MS lesions are dynamic; both active and inactive lesions may show dramatic change on longitudinal MR imaging studies.

Article History

Published in print: 1988