Gd-DTPA-enhanced MR images of experimental bacterial meningitis were obtained after Staphylococcus aureus was inoculated directly into the cisterna magna of four dogs. Each animal was studied with both unenhanced and enhanced MR and CT with Gd-DTPA and meglumine iothalamate, respectively. The enhancement patterns resulting from these techniques were compared and images were correlated with histopathology. All animals demonstrated abnormal leptomeningeal enhancement on MR with Gd-DTPA, but only one of four dogs exhibited abnormal contrast enhancement on CT. In these animals Gd-DTPA-enhanced MR also identified complications of meningitis, such as ventriculitis and cerebritis, more effectively than CT did. Unenhanced MR was not helpful in identifying meningitis. Histologic evaluation demonstrated that the abnormal areas of contrast enhancement on MR and CT correlated with inflammatory cell infiltration. However, some regions of mild leptomeningitis, ependymitis, and cerebritis identified histologically did not demonstrate abnormal enhancement. Since the animal model used was clinically and pathologically similar to human meningitis, we propose that Gd-DTPA-enhanced MR will subsequently be found more effective than unenhanced MR and IV contrast-enhanced CT for demonstrating meningitis and its complications in humans.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging