Myelin plays a critical role in the pathogenesis of neurological disorders but is difficult to characterize in vivo using standard analysis methods. Our goal was to develop a novel analytical framework for estimating myelin content using T2-weighted magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) based on a de- and re-myelination model of multiple sclerosis. We examined 18 mice with lysolecithin induced demyelination and spontaneous remyelination in the ventral white matter of thoracic spinal cord. Cohorts of 6 mice underwent 9.4T MRI at days 7 (peak demyelination), 14 (ongoing recovery), and 28 (near complete recovery), as well as histological analysis of myelin and the associated cellularity at corresponding timepoints. Our MRI framework took an unsupervised learning approach, including tissue segmentation using a Gaussian Markov random field (GMRF), and myelin and cellularity feature estimation based on the Mahalanobis distance. For comparison, we also investigated 2 regression-based supervised learning approaches, one using our GMRF results, and another using a freely available generalized additive model (GAM). Results showed that GMRF segmentation was 73.2% accurate, and our unsupervised learning method achieved a correlation coefficient of 0.67 (top quartile: 0.78) with histological myelin, similar to 0.70 (top quartile: 0.78) obtained using supervised analyses. Further, the area under the receiver operator characteristic curve of our unsupervised myelin feature (0.883, 95% CI: 0.874-0.891) was significantly better than any of the supervised models in detecting white matter myelin as compared to histology. Collectively, metric learning using standard MRI may prove to be a new alternative method for estimating myelin content, which ultimately can improve our disease monitoring ability in a clinical setting.