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Mult Scler. 2015 Apr;21(4):402-14. doi: 10.1177/1352458514543811. Epub 2014 Aug 19.

Cortical thickness and surface area relate to specific symptoms in early relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis.

Author information

1
Oslo University Hospital, Norway/University of Oslo, Norway g.o.nygaard@medisin.uio.no.
2
Oslo University Hospital, Norway/University of Oslo, Norway.
3
University of Oslo, Norway.
4
Oslo University Hospital, Norway.
5
Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Cortical atrophy is common in early relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS). Whether this atrophy is caused by changes in cortical thickness or cortical surface area is not known, nor is their separate contributions to clinical symptoms.

OBJECTIVES:

To investigate the difference in cortical surface area, thickness and volume between early RRMS patients and healthy controls; and the relationship between these measures and neurological disability, cognitive decline, fatigue and depression.

METHODS:

RRMS patients (n = 61) underwent magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), neurological and neuropsychological examinations. We estimated cortical surface area, thickness and volume and compared them with matched healthy controls (n = 61). We estimated the correlations between clinical symptoms and cortical measures within the patient group.

RESULTS:

We found no differences in cortical surface area, but widespread differences in cortical thickness and volume between the groups. Neurological disability was related to regionally smaller cortical thickness and volume. Better verbal memory was related to regionally larger surface area; and better visuo-spatial memory, to regionally larger cortical volume. Higher depression scores and fatigue were associated with regionally smaller cortical surface area and volume.

CONCLUSIONS:

We found that cortical thickness, but not cortical surface area, is affected in early RRMS. We identified specific structural correlates to the main clinical symptoms in early RRMS.

KEYWORDS:

Brain function; cerebral cortex; cortical surface area; cortical thickness; depression; fatigue; magnetic resonance imaging; multiple sclerosis; neurological disability; relapsing–remitting multiple sclerosis; symptoms

PMID:
25139946
DOI:
10.1177/1352458514543811
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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