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Mult Scler. 2009 Jun;15(6):678-86. doi: 10.1177/1352458509103611.

T2 hypointensity in the deep gray matter of patients with benign multiple sclerosis.

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  • 1Neuroimaging Research Unit, Scientific Institute and University Ospedale San Raffaele, Milan, Italy.



Gray matter (GM) magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) T2 hypointensity, a putative marker of iron deposition, commonly occurs in multiple sclerosis (MS). However, GM T2 hypointensity in benign MS (BMS) has not yet been characterized.


To determine the presence of deep GM T2 hypointensity in BMS, compare it to secondary progressive (SP) MS and assess its association with clinical and diffusion tensor (DT) MRI measures.


Thirty-five cognitively unimpaired BMS, 26 SPMS patients, and 25 healthy controls were analyzed for normalized T2-intensity in the basal ganglia and thalamus, global T2 hyperintense lesion volume, global atrophy, and white matter and GM DT metrics.


BMS and SPMS patients showed deep GM T2 hypointensity compared with controls. T2 hypointensity was similar in both MS subgroups and moderately correlated (r = -0.45 to 0.42) with DT MRI metrics. GM T2 hypointensity in BMS showed a weak to moderate correlation (r = -0.44 to -0.35) with disability.


GM in BMS is not spared from structural change including iron deposition. However, while T2 hypointensity is related to global tissue disruption reflected in DT MRI, the expression of benign versus non-benign MS is likely related to other factors.

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