Publication Date



Brain and Behavior


BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: The discovery of glymphatic function in the human brain has generated interest in waste clearance mechanisms in neurological disorders such as multiple sclerosis (MS). However, noninvasive in vivo functional assessment is currently lacking. This work studies the feasibility of a novel intravenous dynamic contrast MRI method to assess the dural lymphatics, a purported pathway contributing to glymphatic clearance.

METHODS: This prospective study included 20 patients with MS (17 women; age = 46.4 [27, 65] years; disease duration = 13.6 [2.1, 38.0] years, expanded disability status score (EDSS) = 2.0 [0, 6.5]). Patients were scanned on a 3.0T MRI system using intravenous contrast-enhanced fluid-attenuated inversion recovery MRI. Signal in the dural lymphatic vessel along the superior sagittal sinus was measured to calculate peak enhancement, time to maximum enhancement, wash-in and washout slopes, and the area under the time-intensity curve (AUC). Correlation analysis was performed to examine the relationship between the lymphatic dynamic parameters and the demographic and clinical characteristics, including the lesion load and the brain parenchymal fraction (BPF).

RESULTS: Contrast enhancement was detected in the dural lymphatics in most patients 2-3 min after contrast administration. BPF had a significant correlation with AUC (p < .03), peak enhancement (p < .01), and wash-in slope (p = .01). Lymphatic dynamic parameters did not correlate with age, BMI, disease duration, EDSS, or lesion load. Moderate trends were observed for correlation between patient age and AUC (p = .062), BMI and peak enhancement (p = .059), and BMI and AUC (p = .093).

CONCLUSION: Intravenous dynamic contrast MRI of the dural lymphatics is feasible and may be useful in characterizing its hydrodynamics in neurological diseases.


cerebrospinal fluid, dural lymphatic vessels, dynamic contrast‐enhanced MRI, gadolinium‐based contrast agents, glymphatic function, multiple sclerosis



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