White-matter-nulled MPRAGE at 7T reveals thalamic lesions and atrophy of specific thalamic nuclei in multiple sclerosis

Vincent Planche, Jason H. Su, Sandy Mournet, Manojkumar Saranathan, Vincent Dousset, May Han, Brian K. Rutt, Thomas Tourdias

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Background: Investigating the degeneration of specific thalamic nuclei in multiple sclerosis (MS) remains challenging. Methods: White-matter-nulled (WMn) MPRAGE, MP-FLAIR, and standard T1-weighted magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) were performed on MS patients (n = 15) and matched controls (n = 12). Thalamic lesions were counted in individual sequences and lesion contrast-to-noise ratio (CNR) was measured. Volumes of 12 thalamic nuclei were measured using an automatic segmentation pipeline specifically developed for WMn-MPRAGE. Results: WMn-MPRAGE showed more thalamic MS lesions (n = 35 in 9 out of 15 patients) than MP-FLAIR (n = 25) and standard T1 (n = 23), which was associated with significant improvement of CNR (p < 0.0001). MS patients had whole thalamus atrophy (p = 0.003) with lower volumes found for the anteroventral (p < 0.001), the pulvinar (p < 0.0001), and the habenular (p = 0.004) nuclei. Conclusion: WMn-MPRAGE and automatic thalamic segmentation can highlight thalamic MS lesions and measure patterns of focal thalamic atrophy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)987-992
Number of pages6
JournalMultiple Sclerosis Journal
Issue number8
StatePublished - Jul 1 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Thalamic nuclei
  • multi-atlas segmentation
  • multiple sclerosis
  • ultra-high field magnetic resonance imaging
  • white-matter-nulled MPRAGE

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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