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MR imaging provides information on the number and extend of focal lesions in multiple sclerosis (MS) patients. This study explores whether total brain T2 lesion volume or lesion number shows a better correlation with serum and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) biomarkers of disease activity. In total, 52 patients suffering from clinically isolated syndrome (CIS)/relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS) were assessed including MRI markers (total brain T2 lesion volume semi-automatically outlined on 3D DIR/FLAIR sequences, number of lesions), serum and CSF biomarkers at the time of neuroimaging (neurofilament light chain (NfL), glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP)), and clinical parameters. After log-transformation and partial correlations adjusted for the covariates patients' age, BMI, EDSS-score and diagnosis, the Fisher's r-to-Z transformation was used to compare different correlation coefficients. The correlation between lesion volume and serum NfL (r = 0.6, p < 0.001) was stronger compared to the association between the number of T2 lesions and serum NfL (r = 0.4, p < 0.01) (z = -2.0, p < 0.05). With regard to CSF NfL, there was a moderate, positive relationship for both number of T2 lesions and lesion volume (r = 0.5 respectively, p < 0.01). We found no significant association between MRI markers and GFAP levels. Our findings suggest that there is a stronger association between serum NfL and T2 lesion volume, than there is between serum NfL and T2 lesion number. Improving robustness and accuracy of fully-automated lesion volume segmentation tools can expedite implementation into clinical routine and trials. Copyright © 2023 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


Katharina J Wenger, Maya C Hoelter, Yavor Yalachkov, Jan Hendrik Schäfer, Dilek Özkan, Falk Steffen, Stefan Bittner, Elke Hattingen, Christian Foerch, Martin A Schaller-Paule. Serum neurofilament light chain is more strongly associated with T2 lesion volume than with number of T2 lesions in patients with multiple sclerosis. European journal of radiology. 2023 Sep;166:111019

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PMID: 37549559

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