Cortical quantitative MRI parameters are related to the cognitive status in patients with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis.Eur Radiol 2019ER
We aimed to assess cortical damage in patients with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS)/clinically isolated syndrome (CIS) with a multiparametric, surface-based quantitative MRI (qMRI) approach and to evaluate the correlation of imaging-derived parameters with cognitive scores, hypothesizing that qMRI parameters are correlated with cognitive abilities.
Multiparametric qMRI-data (T1, T2 and T2* relaxation times and proton density (PD)) were obtained from 34 patients/24 matched healthy control subjects. Cortical qMRI values were analyzed on the reconstructed cortical surface with Freesurfer. We tested for group differences of cortical microstructural parameters between the healthy and patient collectives and for partial Pearson correlations of qMRI parameters with cognitive scores, correcting for age.
Cortical T2-/T2*-/PD values and four cognitive parameters differed between groups (p ≤ 0.046). These cognitive scores, reflecting information processing speed, verbal memory, visuospatial abilities, and attention, were correlated with cortical T2 (p ≤ 0.02) and T2* (p ≤ 0.03). Cortical changes appeared heterogeneous across the cortex and their distribution differed between the parameters. Vertex-wise correlation of T2 with neuropsychological parameters revealed specific patterns of cortical damage being related to distinct cognitive deficits.
Microstructural changes are distributed heterogeneously across the cortex in RRMS/CIS. QMRI has the potential to provide surrogate parameters for the assessment of cognitive impairment in these patients for clinical studies. The characteristics of cognitive impairment in RRMS might depend on the distribution of cortical changes.
• The goal of the presented study was to investigate cortical changes in RRMS/CIS and their relation to the cognitive status, using multiparametric quantitative MRI. • Cortical T2, T2*, and PD increases observed in patients appeared heterogeneous across the cortex and their distribution differed between the parameters. • Vertex-wise correlation of T2 with neuropsychological scores revealed specific patterns of cortical changes being related to distinct cognitive deficits.