Sodium magnetic resonance imaging may help physicians monitor the level of total sodium concentration (TSC) levels in the brain, which increase dramatically in the advanced stages of relapse-remitting multiple sclerosis, said French researchers in an article published in the journal Radiology.
The researchers sought to quantify brain sodium accumulation according to different stages of relapse-remitting multiple sclerosis (RR MS). It was known that there are abnormally high levels of sodium in the brain stem, cerebellum, and temporal pole, of patients in the early stages of the disease. What was not known were the concentrations as the disease progressed.
The study included three groups of subjects: 14 patients who had RR MS for fewer than five years (ranging from eight to 48 months) and 12 who had the disease for more than five years (ranging from 60 to 360 months), and 15 control subjects.
Using 3D 23Na MR imaging, data were obtained with a 3.0-T unit, and using specialized software, the researchers assessed the sodium concentration and location in the brain, and compared these findings with the patients’ level of disability. As expected, the patients with early RR MS had sodium build-up in the brain stem, cerebellum, and temporal pole, but they also found that among the patients with advanced disease, the TSC accumulation was dramatically increased throughout the brain.
This type of imaging may help physicians monitor the disease progress, wrote the authors, as well as provide target for potential therapies.