Magnetisation transfer ratio abnormalities in primary and secondary progressive multiple sclerosis.


BACKGROUND: In relapse-onset multiple sclerosis (MS), tissue abnormality - as assessed with magnetisation transfer ratio (MTR) imaging - is greater in the outer cortical and inner periventricular layers. The cause of this remains unknown but meningeal inflammation has been implicated, particularly lymphoid follicles, which are seen in secondary progressive (SP) but not primary progressive (PP) MS. Cortical and periventricular MTR gradients might, therefore, differ in PPMS and SPMS if these follicles are responsible. OBJECTIVE: We assessed cortical and periventricular MTR gradients in PPMS, and compared gradients between people with PPMS and SPMS. METHODS: Using an optimised processing pipeline, periventricular normal-appearing white matter and cortical grey-matter MTR gradients were compared between 51 healthy controls and 63 people with progressive MS (28 PPMS, 35 SPMS). RESULTS: The periventricular gradient was significantly shallower in healthy controls (0.122 percentage units (pu)/band) compared to PPMS (0.952 pu/band, p