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Visualisation of the medial longitudinal fasciculus using fibre tractography in multiple sclerosis patients with internuclear ophthalmoplegia

Abstract

Background

This study investigates the use of fibre tractography to facilitate visualisation of the medial longitudinal fasciculus (MLF) and the impact of internuclear ophthalmoplegia (INO) causing lesions on these reconstructions of the tract. Improved visualisation of such tracts may improve knowledge, understanding and confidence related to neurological conditions.

Aims

To explore the use of fibre tractography for the visualisation of the MLF in patients with INO.

Methods

Twelve MS subjects with clinical evidence of INO and 12 matched controls underwent magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), including diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), of the brain. Fibre tractography reconstructions were then evaluated and validated by an experienced neuroanatomist.

Results

The evaluating neuroanatomist confirmed that the MLF had been reproduced in all of the reconstructed cases (fibre tractography was unsuccessful in five cases). The sensitivity of fibre tractography to MLF pathology was 58.3 % while the specificity was much higher at 85.7 % with a positive predictive value of 87.5 % and a negative predictive value of 54.6 %, with excellent intra-reader reliability.

Conclusion

This study demonstrates that fibre tractography of the MLF can potentially be performed with a view to facilitating improved visualisation of the tract and associated pathology in cases of INO. This may help explain the association between lesion type and location with clinical symptomatology and may assist in monitoring disease progression. These reconstructions may provide a valuable addition to the teaching and understanding of clinical signs related to subtle pathology.

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Acknowledgments

This study was supported by the UCD Seed Funding and Overhead Investment Plan Schemes, the UCD School of Medicine and Medical Science Research Support Scheme and a National Multiple Sclerosis Society (USA) Research Award.

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Authors and Affiliations

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Corresponding author

Correspondence to J. P. McNulty.

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Funding

This study was supported by the UCD Seed Funding and Overhead Investment Plan Schemes, the UCD School of Medicine and Medical Science Research Support Scheme and a National Multiple Sclerosis Society (USA) Research Award.

Conflict of interest

Author A received research funding through the UCD Seed Funding and Overhead Investment Plan Schemes, the UCD School of Medicine and Medical Science Research Support Scheme and a National Multiple Sclerosis Society (USA) Research Award. Author B received an educational grant from pharmaceutical industry to fund participation in American Academy of Neurology meeting. Authors C, D and E have no conflicts of interest. Author F received research funding through the UCD Seed Funding and Overhead Investment Plan Schemes, the UCD School of Medicine and Medical Science Research Support Scheme and a National Multiple Sclerosis Society (USA) Research Award.

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

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Cite this article

McNulty, J.P., Lonergan, R., Bannigan, J. et al. Visualisation of the medial longitudinal fasciculus using fibre tractography in multiple sclerosis patients with internuclear ophthalmoplegia. Ir J Med Sci 185, 393–402 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11845-016-1405-y

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11845-016-1405-y

Keywords

  • Fibre tractography
  • Internuclear ophthalmoplegia
  • Magnetic resonance imaging
  • Medial longitudinal fasciculus
  • Multiple sclerosis