University of Wisconsin–Madison

The Cell Biology, Imaging, and Physiology of Demyelination and Remyelination

January 2010 to January 2012

This study involves the use of MRI to monitor disease activity in multiple sclerosis (MS). This is critically important but conventional MRI methods do a rather poor job of it. Newer MRI methods are more promising but it remains to be determined precisely what these methods actually measure. For example, there is currently no practical way to make an image that specifically depicts the status of myelin, independent of other MS-related changes taking place in the brain. Several myelin-related imaging methods have been proposed but it is difficult to test these in MS patients because myelin is typically just one of several factors that contribute to what we see on these images. This study will employ a unique cat model, with relatively “pure” loss and recovery of myelin unaccompanied by other changes that complicate image analysis. This model will enable the study of these methods in a controlled way to determine which of them, if any, is able to provide relatively myelin-specific information.

This project led by: Aaron S Field, MD, PhD