White-matter lesions drive deep gray-matter atrophy in early multiple sclerosis: support from structural MRI

The researchers looked at the relationship between lesions within the cerebral white matter (WM) and atrophy within the deep grey matter (GM) in MS. In this cross-sectional study, they carried out a 3T MRI on 249 patients with clinically-isolated syndrome or RRMS and in 49 healthy controls. They looked for a spatial relationship between WM lesions and deep GM atrophy using WM lesion probability maps by voxel-wise multiple regressions, including four variables derived from regional deep GM atrophy.

The researchers found that WM lesions and deep grey matter atrophy are spatially related, with atrophy of each deep GM region explained by ipsilateral WM lesion probability. From this they hypothesise that WM lesions contribute to deep GM atrophy through axonal pathology.

Authors: Mühlau M, Buck D, Förschler A

Source: MultScler. 2013 Mar 5. [Epub ahead of print]

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