Application of diffusional kurtosis imaging to detect occult brain damage in multiple sclerosis and neuromyelitis optica

Wenshu Qian, Koon Ho Chan (Corresponding Author), Edward S. Hui, Chi Yan Lee, Yong Hu, Henry Ka Fung Mak (Corresponding Author)

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Multiple sclerosis (MS) and neuromyelitis optica (NMO) are two common types of inflammatory demyelinating disease of the central nervous system. Early distinction of NMO from MS is crucial but quite challenging. In this study, 13 NMO spectrum disorder patients (Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) of 3.0 ± 1.7, ranging from 2 to 6.5; disease duration of 5.3 ± 4.7 years), 17 relapsing–remitting MS patients (EDSS of 2.6 ± 1.4, ranging from 1 to 5.5; disease duration of 7.9 ± 7.8 years) and 18 healthy volunteers were recruited. Diffusional kurtosis imaging was employed to discriminate NMO and MS patients at the early or stable stage from each other, and from healthy volunteers. The presence of alterations in diffusion and diffusional kurtosis metrics in normal-appearing white matter (NAWM) and diffusely increased mean diffusivity (MD) in the cortical normal-appearing gray matter (NAGM) favors the diagnosis of MS rather than NMO. Meanwhile, normal diffusivities and kurtosis metrics in all NAWM as well as increases in MD in the frontal and temporal NAGM suggest NMO. Our results suggest that diffusion and diffusional kurtosis metrics may well aid in discriminating the two diseases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1536-1545
Number of pages10
JournalNMR in Biomedicine
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • diffusional kurtosis imaging
  • multiple sclerosis
  • neuromyelitis optica
  • normal-appearing brain tissues

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Spectroscopy


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