Introduction In multiple sclerosis (MS), paramagnetic rim lesions (PRLs) on MRI identify a subset of chronic active lesions (CALs), which have been linked through clinical and pathological studies to more severe disease course and greater disability accumulation. Beside their prognostic relevance, increasing evidence supports the use of PRL as a diagnostic biomarker. Areas covered This review summarizes the most recent updates regarding the MRI pathophysiology of PRL, their prevalence in MS (by clinical phenotypes) vs mimicking conditions, and their potential role as diagnostic MS biomarkers. We searched PubMed with terms including 'multiple sclerosis' AND 'paramagnetic rim lesions' OR 'iron rim lesions' OR 'rim lesions' for manuscripts published between January 2008 and July 2022. Expert opinion Current research suggests that PRL can improve the diagnostic specificity and the overall accuracy of MS diagnosis when used together with the dissemination in space MRI criteria and the central vein sign. Nevertheless, future prospective multicenter studies should further define the real-world prevalence and specificity of PRL. International guidelines are needed to establish methodological criteria for PRL identification before its implementation into clinical practice.
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