Magnetic resonance imaging in multiple sclerosis animal models: A systematic review, meta-analysis, and white paper

Benjamin V. Ineichen, Pascal Sati, Tobias Granberg, Martina Absinta, Nathanael J. Lee, Jennifer A. Lefeuvre, Daniel S. Reich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is the most important paraclinical tool for assessing drug response in multiple sclerosis (MS) clinical trials. As such, MRI has also been widely used in preclinical research to investigate drug efficacy and pathogenic aspects in MS animal models. Keeping track of all published preclinical imaging studies, and possible new therapeutic approaches, has become difficult considering the abundance of studies. Moreover, comparisons between studies are hampered by methodological differences, especially since small differences in an MRI protocol can lead to large differences in tissue contrast. We therefore provide a comprehensive qualitative overview of preclinical MRI studies in the field of neuroinflammatory and demyelinating diseases, aiming to summarize experimental setup, MRI methodology, and risk of bias. We also provide estimates of the effects of tested therapeutic interventions by a meta-analysis. Finally, to improve the standardization of preclinical experiments, we propose guidelines on technical aspects of MRI and reporting that can serve as a framework for future preclinical studies using MRI in MS animal models. By implementing these guidelines, clinical translation of findings will be facilitated, and could possibly reduce experimental animal numbers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number102371
JournalNeuroImage: Clinical
StatePublished - 2020


  • Animal models
  • Guidelines
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
  • Meta-analysis
  • Multiple sclerosis (MS)
  • Systematic review

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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