Diffusion-weighted imaging characteristics of biopsy-proven demyelinating brain lesions

N. Abou Zeid, I. Pirko, B. Erickson, S. D. Weigand, K. M. Thomsen, B. Scheithauer, J. E. Parisi, C. Giannini, L. Linbo, C. F. Lucchinetti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Objectives: To describe lesional diffusion-weighted imaging characteristics in a cohort of patients with biopsy-proven CNS inflammatory demyelinating disease (IDD) and compare diffusion characteristics of ring-enhancing CNS IDD lesions vs abscesses and tumors. Methods: Forty prebiopsy apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) maps were reviewed from 30 patients with CNS IDD. Lesions were analyzed for size, T2-weighted (T2W) hypointense rim, enhancement, and ADC pattern. ADC patterns of CNS IDD ring-enhancing lesions were compared with a published cohort of 35 patients with ring-enhancing tumors and abscesses. Results: IDD lesions displayed a spectrum of peripheral ADC patterns at the lesion edge: restricted diffusion (low ADC), 33%; increased diffusion (high ADC), 60%; and normal diffusion (homogeneously isointense), 7%. Of biopsied lesions, 93% enhanced (ring, 52%; heterogeneous, 34%; homogeneous, 7%). A hypointense T2W rim was observed in 53%. A ring pattern on ADC (isointense or dark) was associated with T2W hypointense rims (p = 0.02) but not with ring enhancement. On serial imaging, 4 of 7 (57%) patients demonstrated changes in ADC patterns. Peripheral restriction was more common in IDD (p = 0.006) than in tumors or abscesses, whereas central restriction was only observed in abscesses. Restricted lesions in the same stage were more common in the non-IDD cohort (42% vs 20%), with a uniform restricted pattern seen only in abscesses. Conclusions: In ring-enhancing lesions, peripheral diffusion restriction is more common in IDD than in tumors/abscesses, whereas central restriction is more common among abscesses. Rapid ADC pattern changes in IDD probably reflect dynamic lesion evolution and may distinguish IDD from tumors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1655-1662
Number of pages8
Issue number21
StatePublished - May 22 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology


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