A dual modeling approach to automatic segmentation of cerebral T2 hyperintensities and T1 black holes in multiple sclerosis

Alessandra M. Valcarcel, Kristin A. Linn, Fariha Khalid, Simon N. Vandekar, Shahamat Tauhid, Theodore D. Satterthwaite, John Muschelli, Melissa Lynne Martin, Rohit Bakshi, Russell T. Shinohara

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background and purpose: Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is crucial for in vivo detection and characterization of white matter lesions (WML) in multiple sclerosis (MS). The most widely established MRI outcome measure is the volume of hyperintense lesions on T2-weighted images (T2L). Unfortunately, T2L are non-specific for the level of tissue destruction and show a weak relationship to clinical status. Interest in lesions that appear hypointense on T1-weighted images (T1L) (“black holes”) has grown because T1L provide more specificity for axonal loss and a closer link to neurologic disability. The technical difficulty of T1L segmentation has led investigators to rely on time-consuming manual assessments prone to inter- and intra-rater variability. This study aims to develop an automatic T1L segmentation approach, adapted from a T2L segmentation algorithm. Materials and methods: T1, T2, and fluid-attenuated inversion recovery (FLAIR) sequences were acquired from 40 MS subjects at 3 Tesla (3 T). T2L and T1L were manually segmented. A Method for Inter-Modal Segmentation Analysis (MIMoSA) was then employed. Results: Using cross-validation, MIMoSA proved to be robust for segmenting both T2L and T1L. For T2L, a Sørensen-Dice coefficient (DSC) of 0.66 and partial AUC (pAUC) up to 1% false positive rate of 0.70 were achieved. For T1L, 0.53 DSC and 0.64 pAUC were achieved. Manual and MIMoSA segmented volumes were correlated and resulted in 0.88 for T1L and 0.95 for T2L. The correlation between Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) scores and manual versus automatic volumes were similar for T1L (0.32 manual vs. 0.34 MIMoSA), T2L (0.33 vs. 0.32), and the T1L/T2L ratio (0.33 vs 0.33). Conclusions: Though originally designed to segment T2L, MIMoSA performs well for segmenting T1 black holes in patients with MS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1211-1221
Number of pages11
JournalNeuroImage: Clinical
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience


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