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A comparison of MRI tissue relaxometry and ROI methods used to determine regional brain iron concentrations in restless legs syndrome

Authors Moon H, Chang Y, Lee YS, Song H, Chang HW, Ku J, Allen R, Earley CJ, Cho YW

Received 27 February 2015

Accepted for publication 8 April 2015

Published 30 July 2015 Volume 2015:8 Pages 341—350

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/MDER.S83629

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Scott Fraser


Hye-Jin Moon,1,* Yongmin Chang,2,* Yeong Seon Lee,1 Huijin Song,3 Hyuk Won Chang,4 Jeonghun Ku,5 Richard P Allen,6 Christopher J Earley,6 Yong Won Cho1

1Department of Neurology, Dongsan Medical Center, Keimyung University School of Medicine, Daegu, Republic of Korea; 2Department of Molecular Medicine, 3Department of Medical and Biological Engineering, Kyungpook National University and Hospital, Daegu, Republic of Korea; 4Department of Radiology, 5Department of Biomedical Engineering, School of Medicine, Keimyung University, Daegu, Republic of Korea; 6Department of Neurology, Johns Hopkins University, Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, Baltimore, MD, USA

*These authors contributed equally to this work

Purpose: Magnetic resonance imaging relaxometry studies differed on the relaxometry methods and their approaches to determining the regions of interest (ROIs) in restless legs syndrome (RLS) patients. These differences could account for the variable and inconsistent results found across these studies. The aim of this study was to assess the relationship between the different relaxometry methods and different ROI approaches using each of these methods on a single population of controls and RLS subjects.
Methods: A 3.0-T magnetic resonance imaging with the gradient-echo sampling of free induction decay and echo pulse sequence was used. The regional brain “iron concentrations” were determined using three relaxometry metrics (R2, R2*, and R2') through two different ROI methods. The substantia nigra (SN) was the primary ROI with red nucleus, caudate, putamen, and globus pallidus as the secondary ROIs.
Results: Thirty-seven RLS patients and 40 controls were enrolled. The iron concentration as determined by R2 did not correlate with either of the other two methods, while R2* and R2' showed strong correlations, particularly for the substantia nigra and red nucleus. In the fixed-shape ROI method, the RLS group showed a lower iron index compared to the control group in the substantia nigra and several other regions. With the semi-automated ROI method, however, only the red nucleus showed a significant difference between the two groups.
Conclusion: Both the relaxometry and ROI determination methods significantly influenced the outcome of studies that used these methods to estimate regional brain iron concentrations.

Keywords: restless legs syndrome, relaxometry, region of interest, substantia nigra, iron

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