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Arch Neurol. 2005 Apr;62(4):569-73.

Metabolite changes in normal-appearing gray and white matter are linked with disability in early primary progressive multiple sclerosis.

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  • 1Institute of Neurology, London, United Kingdom.



Abnormalities in normal-appearing brain tissues may contribute to disability in primary progressive multiple sclerosis (PPMS), where few lesions are seen on conventional imaging.


To evaluate the mechanisms underlying disease progression in the early phase of PPMS by measuring metabolite concentrations in normal-appearing white matter (NAWM) and cortical gray matter (CGM) and to assess their relationship with clinical outcomes.


Case-control study.


Tertiary referral hospital. Patients Forty-three consecutive patients within 5 years of onset of PPMS and 44 healthy control subjects.


Concentrations of choline-containing compounds, phosphocreatine, myo-inositol, total N-acetyl-aspartate (tNAA), and glutamate-glutamine were estimated using proton magnetic resonance spectroscopic imaging. Brain parenchymal, white matter and gray matter fractions and proton density and gadolinium-enhancing lesion loads were calculated. The Expanded Disability Status Scale and Multiple Sclerosis Functional Composite scores were recorded.


In CGM, concentrations of the tNAA (P<.001) and glutamate-glutamine (P = .005) were lower in patients with PPMS than in controls. In NAWM, myo-inositol levels were higher (P = .002) and tNAA levels were lower (P = .005) in patients with PPMS than in controls. The Expanded Disability Status Scale score correlated with the tNAA concentration in CGM (r = -0.44; P = .03) and with myo-inositol (r = 0.41; P = .01) and glutamate-glutamine concentrations (r = 0.41; P = .01) in NAWM. Proton density lesion load correlated negatively with CGM tNAA concentration and positively with NAWM myo-inositol concentration.


Metabolite changes, which differ in CGM and NAWM, occur in early PPMS and are linked with disability.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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