User Name

Muhamed Barakovic

Društvene mreže:

M. Barakovic, Matthias Weigel, A. Cagol, Sabine A. Schaedelin, R. Galbusera, Po-Jui Lu, Xinjie Chen, L. Melie-García, Mario Ocampo-Pineda et al.

R. Galbusera, Matthias Weigel, Erik Bahn, Sabine A. Schaedelin, A. Cagol, Po-Jui Lu, M. Barakovic, L. Melie-García, Jonas Franz et al.

Federico Spagnolo, Susanna Gobbi, E. Zsoldos, Manon Edde, Matthias Weigel, C. Granziera, Maxime Descoteaux, M. Barakovic, Stefano Magon

Introduction Multi-shell diffusion Magnetic Resonance Imaging (dMRI) data has been widely used to characterise white matter microstructure in several neurodegenerative diseases. The lack of standardised dMRI protocols often implies the acquisition of redundant measurements, resulting in prolonged acquisition times. In this study, we investigate the impact of the number of gradient directions on Diffusion Tensor Imaging (DTI) and on Neurite Orientation Dispersion and Density Imaging (NODDI) metrics. Methods Data from 124 healthy controls collected in three different longitudinal studies were included. Using an in-house algorithm, we reduced the number of gradient directions in each data shell. We estimated DTI and NODDI measures on six white matter bundles clinically relevant for neurodegenerative diseases. Results Fractional Anisotropy (FA) measures on bundles where data were sampled at the 30% rate, showed a median L1 distance of up to 3.92% and a 95% CI of (1.74, 8.97)% when compared to those obtained at reference sampling. Mean Diffusivity (MD) reached up to 4.31% and a 95% CI of (1.60, 16.98)% on the same premises. At a sampling rate of 50%, we obtained a median of 3.90% and a 95% CI of (1.99, 16.65)% in FA, and 5.49% with a 95% CI of (2.14, 21.68)% in MD. The Intra-Cellular volume fraction (ICvf) median L1 distance was up to 2.83% with a 95% CI of (1.98, 4.82)% at a 30% sampling rate and 3.95% with a 95% CI of (2.39, 7.81)% at a 50% sampling rate. The volume difference of the reconstructed white matter at reference and 50% sampling reached a maximum of (2.09 ± 0.81)%. Discussion In conclusion, DTI and NODDI measures reported at reference sampling were comparable to those obtained when the number of dMRI volumes was reduced by up to 30%. Close to reference DTI and NODDI metrics were estimated with a significant reduction in acquisition time using three shells, respectively with: 4 directions at a b value of 700 s/mm2, 14 at 1000 s/mm2, and 32 at 2000 s/mm2. The study revealed aspects that can be important for large-scale clinical studies on bundle-specific diffusion MRI.

R. Galbusera, Erik Bahn, Matthias Weigel, A. Cagol, Po-Jui Lu, Sabine A. Schaedelin, Jonas Franz, M. Barakovic, R. Rahmanzadeh et al.

BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES A subgroup of patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) presents focal paramagnetic rims at the border between cortex and white matter (juxtacortical paramagnetic rims [JPRs]). We investigated the presence of this finding in our in vivo MS cohort and explored its potential clinical relevance. Moreover, we exploited postmortem MRI of fixed whole MS brains to (1) detect those rims and (2) investigate their histologic correlation. METHODS Quantitative susceptibility mapping (QSM) and magnetization-prepared 2 rapid acquisition gradient-echo (MP2RAGE) images at 3T-MRI of 165 patients with MS from the in vivo cohort were screened for JPRs and the presence of cortical lesions. Five postmortem brains from patients with MS were imaged with 3T-MRI to obtain QSM and MP2RAGE sequences. Tissue blocks containing JPRs were excised and paraffin-embedded slices stained by immunohistochemistry for myelin basic protein (for myelin) and anti-CR3/43 (for major histocompatibility complex II-positive microglia/macrophages). DAB-Turnbull stain was performed to detect iron. RESULTS JPRs are present in approximately 10% of in vivo patients and are associated with increased cortical lesion load. One of the 5 postmortem brains showed JPRs. Histologically, JPRs correspond to an accumulation of activated iron-laden phagocytes and are associated with demyelination of the whole overlying cortical ribbon. DISCUSSION JPRs are a novel potential MRI biomarker of focal cortical demyelination, which seems related to global cortical pathology and might be useful for diagnostic and stratification purposes in a clinical setting.

Sara Bosticardo, S. Schiavi, Sabine A. Schaedelin, Matteo Battocchio, M. Barakovic, Po-Jui Lu, Matthias Weigel, L. Melie-García, C. Granziera et al.

Introduction Recent studies showed that the myelin of the brain changes in the life span, and demyelination contributes to the loss of brain plasticity during normal aging. Diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance imaging (dMRI) allows studying brain connectivity in vivo by mapping axons in white matter with tractography algorithms. However, dMRI does not provide insight into myelin; thus, combining tractography with myelin-sensitive maps is necessary to investigate myelin-weighted brain connectivity. Tractometry is designated for this purpose, but it suffers from some serious limitations. Our study assessed the effectiveness of the recently proposed Myelin Streamlines Decomposition (MySD) method in estimating myelin-weighted connectomes and its capacity to detect changes in myelin network architecture during the process of normal aging. This approach opens up new possibilities compared to traditional Tractometry. Methods In a group of 85 healthy controls aged between 18 and 68 years, we estimated myelin-weighted connectomes using Tractometry and MySD, and compared their modulation with age by means of three well-known global network metrics. Results Following the literature, our results show that myelin development continues until brain maturation (40 years old), after which degeneration begins. In particular, mean connectivity strength and efficiency show an increasing trend up to 40 years, after which the process reverses. Both Tractometry and MySD are sensitive to these changes, but MySD turned out to be more accurate. Conclusion After regressing the known predictors, MySD results in lower residual error, indicating that MySD provides more accurate estimates of myelin-weighted connectivity than Tractometry.

A. Cagol, P. Benkert, L. Melie-García, Sabine A. Schaedelin, Selina Leber, C. Tsagkas, M. Barakovic, R. Galbusera, Po-Jui Lu et al.

Background and Objectives Progression independent of relapse activity (PIRA) is a crucial determinant of overall disability accumulation in multiple sclerosis (MS). Accelerated brain atrophy has been shown in patients experiencing PIRA. In this study, we assessed the relation between PIRA and neurodegenerative processes reflected by (1) longitudinal spinal cord atrophy and (2) brain paramagnetic rim lesions (PRLs). Besides, the same relationship was investigated in progressive MS (PMS). Last, we explored the value of cross-sectional brain and spinal cord volumetric measurements in predicting PIRA. Methods From an ongoing multicentric cohort study, we selected patients with MS with (1) availability of a susceptibility-based MRI scan and (2) regular clinical and conventional MRI follow-up in the 4 years before the susceptibility-based MRI. Comparisons in spinal cord atrophy rates (explored with linear mixed-effect models) and PRL count (explored with negative binomial regression models) were performed between: (1) relapsing-remitting (RRMS) and PMS phenotypes and (2) patients experiencing PIRA and patients without confirmed disability accumulation (CDA) during follow-up (both considering the entire cohort and the subgroup of patients with RRMS). Associations between baseline MRI volumetric measurements and time to PIRA were explored with multivariable Cox regression analyses. Results In total, 445 patients with MS (64.9% female; mean [SD] age at baseline 45.0 [11.4] years; 11.2% with PMS) were enrolled. Compared with patients with RRMS, those with PMS had accelerated cervical cord atrophy (mean difference in annual percentage volume change [MD-APC] −1.41; p = 0.004) and higher PRL load (incidence rate ratio [IRR] 1.93; p = 0.005). Increased spinal cord atrophy (MD-APC −1.39; p = 0.0008) and PRL burden (IRR 1.95; p = 0.0008) were measured in patients with PIRA compared with patients without CDA; such differences were also confirmed when restricting the analysis to patients with RRMS. Baseline volumetric measurements of the cervical cord, whole brain, and cerebral cortex significantly predicted time to PIRA (all p ≤ 0.002). Discussion Our results show that PIRA is associated with both increased spinal cord atrophy and PRL burden, and this association is evident also in patients with RRMS. These findings further point to the need to develop targeted treatment strategies for PIRA to prevent irreversible neuroaxonal loss and optimize long-term outcomes of patients with MS.

A. Cagol, Rosa Cortese, M. Barakovic, Sabine A. Schaedelin, Esther Ruberte, M. Absinta, F. Barkhof, Massimiliano Calabrese, M. Castellaro et al.

Key Points Question Can multiple sclerosis (MS) be differentiated from a wide range of non-MS conditions showing brain white matter lesions using solely imaging biomarkers for cortical lesions (CLs) and central vein sign (CVS)? Findings In this cross-sectional study including 1051 participants, the presence of CLs had high specificity and low sensitivity, while application of the 40% CVS rule resulted in high specificity and moderate sensitivity for MS diagnosis. CVS and CLs outperformed the contribution of infratentorial, periventricular, and juxtacortical lesions in supporting the diagnosis of MS. Meaning The findings indicate that CVS and CLs may be valuable tools to increase the accuracy of MS diagnosis.

Ahmed Abdelhak, P. Benkert, S. Schaedelin, W. Boscardin, C. Cordano, J. Oechtering, Kirtana Ananth, C. Granziera, L. Melie-García et al.

Importance Mechanisms contributing to disability accumulation in multiple sclerosis (MS) are poorly understood. Blood neurofilament light chain (NfL) level, a marker of neuroaxonal injury, correlates robustly with disease activity in people with MS (MS); however, data on the association between NfL level and disability accumulation have been conflicting. Objective To determine whether and when NfL levels are elevated in the context of confirmed disability worsening (CDW). Design, Setting, and Participants This study included 2 observational cohorts: results from the Expression, Proteomics, Imaging, Clinical (EPIC) study at the University of California San Francisco (since 2004) were confirmed in the Swiss Multiple Sclerosis Cohort (SMSC), a multicenter study in 8 centers since 2012. Data were extracted from EPIC in April 2022 (sampling July 1, 2004, to December 20, 2016) and SMSC in December 2022 (sampling June 6, 2012, to September 2, 2021). The study included 2 observational cohorts in tertiary MS centers. All participants of both cohorts with available NfL results were included in the study, and no eligible participants were excluded or declined to participate. Exposure Association between NfL z scores and CDW. Main Outcome Measures CDW was defined as Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) worsening that was confirmed after 6 or more months and classified into CDW associated with clinical relapses (CDW-R) or independent of clinical relapses (CDW-NR). Visits were classified in relation to the disability worsening events into CDW(-2) for 2 visits preceding event, CDW(-1) for directly preceding event, CDW(event) for first diagnosis of EDSS increase, and the confirmation visit. Mixed linear and Cox regression models were used to evaluate NfL dynamics and to assess the association of NfL with future CDW, respectively. Results A total of 3906 EPIC visits (609 participants; median [IQR] age, 42.0 [35.0-50.0] years; 424 female [69.6%]) and 8901 SMSC visits (1290 participants; median [IQR] age, 41.2 [32.5-49.9] years; 850 female [65.9%]) were included. In CDW-R (EPIC, 36 events; SMSC, 93 events), NfL z scores were 0.71 (95% CI, 0.35-1.07; P < .001) units higher at CDW-R(-1) in EPIC and 0.32 (95% CI, 0.14-0.49; P < .001) in SMSC compared with stable MS samples. NfL elevation could be detected preceding CDW-NR (EPIC, 191 events; SMSC, 342 events) at CDW-NR(-2) (EPIC: 0.23; 95% CI, 0.01-0.45; P = .04; SMSC: 0.28; 95% CI, 0.18-0.37; P < .001) and at CDW-NR(-1) (EPIC: 0.27; 95% CI, 0.11-0.44; P < .001; SMSC: 0.09; 95% CI, 0-0.18; P = .06). Those findings were replicated in the subgroup with relapsing-remitting MS. Time-to-event analysis confirmed the association between NfL levels and future CDW-R within approximately 1 year and CDW-NR (in approximately 1-2 years). Conclusions and Relevance This cohort study documents the occurrence of NfL elevation in advance of clinical worsening and may hint to a potential window of ongoing dynamic central nervous system pathology that precedes the diagnosis of CDW.

E. Canales-Rodríguez, M. Pizzolato, Feng-Lei Zhou, M. Barakovic, Jean-Philippe Thiran, Derek K Jones, Geoffrey J. M. Parker, T. Dyrby

PURPOSE This study aims to evaluate two distinct approaches for fiber radius estimation using diffusion-relaxation MRI data acquired in biomimetic microfiber phantoms that mimic hollow axons. The methods considered are the spherical mean power-law approach and a T2 -based pore size estimation technique. THEORY AND METHODS A general diffusion-relaxation theoretical model for the spherical mean signal from water molecules within a distribution of cylinders with varying radii was introduced, encompassing the evaluated models as particular cases. Additionally, a new numerical approach was presented for estimating effective radii (i.e., MRI-visible mean radii) from the ground truth radii distributions, not reliant on previous theoretical approximations and adaptable to various acquisition sequences. The ground truth radii were obtained from scanning electron microscope images. RESULTS Both methods show a linear relationship between effective radii estimated from MRI data and ground-truth radii distributions, although some discrepancies were observed. The spherical mean power-law method overestimated fiber radii. Conversely, the T2 -based method exhibited higher sensitivity to smaller fiber radii, but faced limitations in accurately estimating the radius in one particular phantom, possibly because of material-specific relaxation changes. CONCLUSION The study demonstrates the feasibility of both techniques to predict pore sizes of hollow microfibers. The T2 -based technique, unlike the spherical mean power-law method, does not demand ultra-high diffusion gradients, but requires calibration with known radius distributions. This research contributes to the ongoing development and evaluation of neuroimaging techniques for fiber radius estimation, highlights the advantages and limitations of both methods, and provides datasets for reproducible research.

Philippe Karan, Manon Edde, Guillaume Gilbert, M. Barakovic, Stefano Magon, Maxime Descoteaux

Purpose To characterize the orientation dependence of magnetization transfer (MT) measures in white matter (WM) and propose a first correction method for such measures. Methods A characterization method was developed using the fiber orientation obtained from diffusion MRI (dMRI) with diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) and constrained spherical deconvolution (CSD). This allowed for characterization of the orientation dependence of measures in all of WM, regardless of the number of fiber orientation in a voxel. Furthermore, a first correction method was proposed from the results of characterization, aiming at removing said orientation dependence. Both methods were tested on a 20-subject dataset and effects on tractometry results were also evaluated. Results Previous results for single-fiber voxels were reproduced and a novel characterization was produced in voxels of crossing fibers, which seems to follow trends consistent with single-fiber results. Unwanted effects of the orientation dependence on MT measures were highlighted, for which the correction method was able to produce improved results. Conclusion Encouraging results of corrected MT measures showed the importance of such correction, opening the door for future research on the topic.


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