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J Neurol Sci. 2009 Jul 15;282(1-2):12-20. doi: 10.1016/j.jns.2009.01.018. Epub 2009 Feb 26.

Gray matter pathology in (chronic) MS: modern views on an early observation.

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  • 1Dept. of Pathology, VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


Involvement of the gray matter (GM) in the pathology of multiple sclerosis (MS) was already recognized in the early days of MS research, but the detection of (cortical) GM lesions under the microscope and with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) techniques was initially suboptimal and could only recently be enhanced. The visualization of GM lesions in vivo opens new doors for studies focusing on clinical, especially cognitive, effects of GM pathology, as well as for monitoring of neuroprotective treatment. However, so far little is known about what causes GM pathology. In this review, several pathogenetic mechanisms will be discussed, affecting the MS brain both from the 'outside-in' and from the 'inside-out'. Also, the use and reliability of MRI atrophy measures as a monitoring tool for GM damage in the therapeutic setting will be reviewed.

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