Demyelination reduces brain parenchymal stiffness quantified in vivo by magnetic resonance elastography

Katharina Schregel, Eva Wuerfel Née Tysiak, Philippe Garteiser, Ines Gemeinhardt, Timour Prozorovski, Orhan Aktas, Hartmut Merz, Dirk Petersen, Jens Wuerfel*, Ralph Sinkus

*Corresponding author for this work
75 Citations (Scopus)


The detection of pathological tissue alterations by manual palpation is a simple but essential diagnostic tool, which has been applied by physicians since the beginnings of medicine. Recently, the virtual "palpation" of the brain has become feasible using magnetic resonance elastography, which quantifies biomechanical properties of the brain parenchyma by analyzing the propagation of externally elicited shear waves. However, the precise molecular and cellular patterns underlying changes of viscoelasticity measured by magnetic resonance elastography have not been investigated up to date. We assessed changes of viscoelasticity in a murine model of multiple sclerosis, inducing reversible demyelination by feeding the copper chelator cuprizone, and correlated our results with detailed histological analyses, comprising myelination, extracellular matrix alterations, immune cell infiltration and axonal damage. We show firstly that the magnitude of the complex shear modulus decreases with progressive demyelination and global extracellular matrix degradation, secondly that the loss modulus decreases faster than the dynamic modulus during the destruction of the corpus callosum, and finally that those processes are reversible after remyelination.

Original languageEnglish
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number17
Pages (from-to)6650-6655
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - 24.04.2012


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