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In NeuroImage ; h5-index 117.0

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a demyelinating and inflammatory disease of the central nervous system (CNS). The demyelination process can be repaired by the generation of a new sheath of myelin around the axon, a process termed remyelination. In MS patients, the demyelination-remyelination cycles are highly dynamic. Over the years, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) has been increasingly used in the diagnosis of MS and it is currently the most useful paraclinical tool to assess this diagnosis. However, conventional MRI pulse sequences are not specific for pathological mechanisms such as demyelination and remyelination. Recently, positron emission tomography (PET) with radiotracer [11C]PIB has become a promising tool to measure in-vivo myelin content changes which is essential to push forward our understanding of mechanisms involved in the pathology of MS, and to monitor individual patients in the context of clinical trials focused on repair therapies. However, PET imaging is invasive due to the injection of a radioactive tracer. Moreover, it is an expensive imaging test and not offered in the majority of medical centers in the world. In this work, by using multisequence MRI, we thus propose a method to predict the parametric map of [11C]PIB PET, from which we derived the myelin content changes in a longitudinal analysis of patients with MS. The method is based on the proposed conditional flexible self-attention GAN (CF-SAGAN) which is specifically adjusted for high-dimensional medical images and able to capture the relationships between the spatially separated lesional regions during the image synthesis process. Jointly applying the sketch-refinement process and the proposed attention regularization that focuses on the MS lesions, our approach is shown to outperform the state-of-the-art methods qualitatively and quantitatively. Specifically, our method demonstrated a superior performance for the prediction of myelin content at voxel-wise level. More important, our method for the prediction of myelin content changes in patients with MS shows similar clinical correlations to the PET-derived gold standard indicating the potential for clinical management of patients with MS.

Wei Wen, Poirion Emilie, Bodini Benedetta, Tonietto Matteo, Durrleman Stanley, Colliot Olivier, Stankoff Bruno, Ayache Nicholas


Attention mechanism, Conditional GANs, Deep learning, Demyelination and remyelination, Multiple sclerosis, Multisequence MRI, PET imaging