Purpose: Reduced gray-white matter contrast along the central sulcus has been described on T1- and T2-weighted magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). The purpose of this study was to assess the gray-white matter contrast of the motor cortex on double inversion recovery (DIR), a sequence with superior gray-white matter differentiation. Methods: The gray-white matter signal on DIR was retrospectively compared to T1-weighted magnetization-prepared rapid gradient echo (T1-MPRAGE) using normal (n = 25) and abnormal (n = 25) functional MRI (fMRI) exams. Quantitative gray-white matter contrast ratios (CR) of the precentral and adjacent gyri were obtained on normal exams. Two neuroradiologists qualitatively rated reduced gray-white matter contrast of the hemispheres of both normal and abnormal exams. Hand motor functional mapping was used as a reference. Results: In normal hemispheres (n = 50), the mean CR was significantly lower on DIR (0.44) vs T1-MPRAGE (0.63, p < 0.001). Reduced gray-white matter contrast was categorized as “definitely present” more frequently on DIR than T1-MPRAGE by reviewers in both normal (n = 50; reviewer 1 DIR 88% and MPRAGE 68%, p = 0.02; reviewer 2 DIR 86% and T1-MPRAGE 64%; p=0.01) and abnormal hemispheres (n = 50; reviewer 1 DIR 80% and T1-MPRAGE 38%, p < 0.001; reviewer 2 DIR 74% and T1-MPRAGE 46%, p = 0.005). Conclusion: Reduced gray-white matter contrast of the motor cortex is more pronounced on DIR compared to T1-MPRAGE on quantitative and qualitative assessments of normal MRI exams. In abnormal cases, reviewers more definitively identified the motor cortex on DIR. In cases with distorted brain anatomy, DIR may be a useful adjunct sequence to localize the motor cortex.
- 3D T1-weighted magnetization-prepared rapid gradient echo (T1-MPRAGE)
- Double inversion recovery (DIR)
- Gray-white matter junction
- Motor cortex