Imaging Myelin

Frullano L, Zhu J, Miller RH, Wang Y. Synthesis and characterization of a novel Gd-based contrast agent for magnetic resonance imaging of myelination, J Med Chem. 2013 Jan [Epub ahead of print]

Myelin is a membrane system that fosters nervous impulse conduction in the vertebrate nervous system. Myelin sheath disruption is a common characteristic of several neurodegenerative diseases such as multiple sclerosis (MS) and various leukodystrophies. To date, the diagnosis of MS is obtained using a set of criteria in which MRI observations play a central role. However, because of the lack of specificity for myelin integrity, the use of MRI as the primary diagnostic tool has not yet been accepted. In order to improve MR specificity, we began developing MR probes targeted towards myelin. In this work we describe a new myelin-targeted MR contrast agent, Gd-DODAS, based on a stilbene binding moiety and demonstrate its ability to specifically bind to myelin in vitro and in vivo. We also present evidence that Gd-DODAS generates MR contrast in vivo in T1-weighed images and in T1 maps that correlates to the myelin content.

Central to the problem of demyelination and importantly remyelination is the inability to really image myelination. This study aims to develop an agent to monitor myelin. Wonder what the long-term consequences of having this all over your myelin is?

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