News Article 01raw
Multiple Sclerosis: new MRI contrast medium enables early diagnosis in animal
Main Category: Multiple
Article Date: 04 Aug 2008
In an animal model of multiple sclerosis (MS), neuroradiologists and
neurologists of the University hospitals of Heidelberg and Würzburg have been
able to visualize inflammatory tissue damage, most of which had remained
unrecognized up to now, with the aid of a new contrast medium, Gadofluorine M,
in magnetic resonance imaging. The scientists have published their results in
the online edition of the renowned medical journal Brain.
particular at the early stage of the disease, drug treatment is effective. Up to
now, how-ever, an early diagnosis is frequently not established with certainty,
especially if no (or very few) inflammatory lesions are present on MRI. "With
this new contrast medium, we were able to visualize five to ten times more foci
of inflammation in comparison to conventional MRI images and contrast media",
reports Professor Dr. Martin Bendszus, Medical Director of the Department of
Neuroradiology at the University hospital of Heidelberg.
unrecognized patches of demyelination visible in MRI
MS is a chronic
inflammatory disease of the central nervous system of unknown cause. It usually
begins in young adults, and women are affected more frequently. In Germany,
ap-proximately 120,000 patients are afflicted. MS is characterized by multiple
inflammatory le-sions in which nerve fibers lose their myelin sheath. These
patches of demyelination cause neurological malfunctions that may regress upon
remyelination. At later stages, MS may re-sult in a loss of nerve fibers,
leading to irreversible damage and persistent neurological symptoms. MRI plays a
crucial role in the early diagnosis of MS and monitoring of the disease.
The scientists from Heidelberg and Würzburg examined brains and spinal
cords of animals at different stages of the disease with the new contrast medium
and found significantly more inflammatory lesions than with conventional
contrast media. Examinations of tissue sections from these lesions showed that
these were actually foci of inflammation. The application of this new contrast
medium was clearly superior to conventional contrast media, especially for the
spinal cord or optical nerve, nerve regions that are particularly difficult to
examine on MRI.
New contrast medium accumulates better in MS
The results of the study could help dramatically improve the
diagnostic work-up in MS with a potential impact on early treatment. "MS is the
most frequent cause of occupational disability and handicap in young adults",
explains Professor Bendszus. "New therapies have a positive influence on the
course of the disease, but are often not initiated at early stages since the
diagnosis of MS is not yet established."
The new contrast medium
gadofluorine M supposedly visualizes MS lesions better because it binds
especially well to certain components of the extracellular matrix of
inflammatory foci. Because of this, it accumulates in these lesions in higher
Now, the next objective of the interdisciplinary working
group is to further develop the new MRI contrast medium for application in
clinical practice. As of now, the contrast medium is not yet approved.
Additional preclinical tests are necessary for the planned clinical application.
Article adapted by Medical News Today
from original press
enhancement allows more sensitive detection of inflammatory CNS lesions than
T2-w imaging: a quantitative MRI study"
Martin Bendszus, Gesa
Ladewig, Leonie Jestaedt, Bernd Misselwitz, Laszlo Solymosi, Klaus Toyka, and
Brain Advance Access, published on July 24,
Click here to view Abstract
Source - Dr. Martin Bendszus
University Hospital Heidelberg