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AJNR Am J Neuroradiol. 1997 May;18(5):895-901.

Magnetization transfer study of HIV encephalitis and progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy. Groupe d'Epidémiologie Clinique du SIDA en Aquitaine.

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Service de Neuroradiologie, Hopital Pellegrin-Tripode, CHU de Bordeaux, France.



To ascertain whether the use of magnetization transfer (MT) in MR imaging can characterize tissue destruction in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-positive patients with presumed progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML) or HIV encephalitis.


Brain MR studies that included MT were obtained in three groups: 11 healthy control subjects, 10 HIV-positive patients with clinical and radiologic findings of PML, and 13 HIV-positive patients with HIV encephalitis. MT ratios (MTRs) were calculated in PML and HIV encephalitis lesions and in normal-appearing white matter in the patients and control subjects.


PML lesions revealed a dramatic decrease in MTR (22% +/- 2.3). HIV encephalitis lesions had statistically significantly higher MTR values (40% +/- 3.8) than PML lesions. The MTR of normal-appearing white matter was significantly higher in the control subjects (47% +/- 2.3) than in the PML group (46% +/- 3.3) or the HIV encephalitis group (44% +/- 2.6).


MTR determinations suggest the possibility of distinguishing PML from HIV encephalitis and of indicating whether HIV encephalitis is involved in white matter that appears normal on conventional MR images.

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