Measurement of cortical thickness and volume of subcortical structures in multiple sclerosis: Agreement between 2D spin-echo and 3D MPRAGE T1-weighted images

A. Vidal-Jordana, D. Pareto*, J. Sastre-Garriga, C. Auger, E. Ciampi, X. Montalban, A. Rovira

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Gray matter pathology is known to occur in multiple sclerosis and is related to disease outcomes. FreeSurfer and the FMRIB Integrated Registration and Segmentation Tool (FIRST) have been developed for measuring cortical and subcortical gray matter in 3D-gradient-echo T1-weighted images. Unfortunately, most historical MS cohorts do not have 3D-gradientecho, but 2D-spin-echo images instead. We aimed to evaluate whether cortical thickness and the volume of subcortical structures measured with FreeSurfer and FIRST could be reliably measured in 2D-spin-echo images and to investigate the strength and direction of clinicoradiologic correlations. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Thirty-eight patients with MS and 2D-spin-echo and 3D-gradient-echo T1-weighted images obtained at the same time were analyzed by using FreeSurfer and FIRST. The intraclass correlation coefficient between the estimates was obtained. Correlation coefficients were used to investigate clinicoradiologic associations. RESULTS: Subcortical volumes obtained with both FreeSurfer and FIRST showed good agreement between 2D-spin-echo and 3D-gradient-echo images, with 68.8%-76.2% of the structures having either a substantial or almost perfect agreement. Nevertheless, with FIRST with 2D-spin-echo, 18% of patients had mis-segmentation. Cortical thickness had the lowest intraclass correlation coefficient values, with only 1 structure (1.4%) having substantial agreement. Disease duration and the Expanded Disability Status Scale showed a moderate correlation with most of the subcortical structures measured with 3D-gradient-echo images, but some correlations lost significance with 2D-spin-echo images, especially with FIRST. CONCLUSIONS: Cortical thickness estimates with FreeSurfer on 2D-spin-echo images are inaccurate. Subcortical volume estimates obtained with FreeSurfer and FIRST on 2D-spin-echo images seem to be reliable, with acceptable clinicoradiologic correlations for FreeSurfer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)250-256
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Neuroradiology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2017


  • Clinically isolated syndromes
  • Test-retest reliability
  • Grey-matter atrophy
  • Cerebral-cortex
  • Brain atrophy
  • Mri
  • Segmentation
  • Registration
  • Robust
  • Gray


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