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PET in Multiple Sclerosis

Niccolini, Flavia, MD, MSc*†; Su, Paul, BSc, MSc*; Politis, Marios, MD, MSc, DIC, PhD*†

doi: 10.1097/RLU.0000000000000359
Review Article

PET is a powerful in vivo functional imaging tool for investigating healthy and diseased brain. It provides noninvasive quantification of selected biological targets that could help build understanding of complex central nervous system disorders such as multiple sclerosis (MS). To date, in MS, PET could only offer complementary support to MRI studies because MRI has still a profound role in monitoring the clinical course of MS. However, recent developments in PET imaging offer the potential to assess the MS brain in vivo in a way that MRI is limited. PET in MS could be used for the investigation of underlying pathophysiology of neuroinflammation, neuronal dysfunction, and demyelination, and remyelination. Quantitative measures of molecular targets with PET could also have future uses in clinical trials of drug development. However, the use of PET is still limited because of the high costs of cyclotrons and radiochemical laboratories. Once these limitations are bypassed alongside advances in research, PET could help in the clinical practice of MS by providing a useful imaging tool for the accurate diagnosis, monitoring of clinical progression, and planning of treatment.

From the *Division of Brain Sciences, Department of Medicine, Hammersmith Hospital, Imperial College London; and †Neurodegeneration Imaging Group, Department of Clinical Neuroscience, King’s College London, London, United Kingdom.

Received for publication July 3, 2013; revision accepted December 11, 2013.

Conflicts of interest and sources of funding: none declared.

Reprints: Marios Politis, MD, MSc, DIC, PhD, Neurodegeneration Imaging Group, Department of Clinical Neuroscience, King’s College London, London SE5 8AF, United Kingdom. E-mail:

© 2015 by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins