Article

Meningeal and cortical grey matter pathology in multiple sclerosis

Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, University of Saskatchewan, 107Wiggins Road, Saskatoon, SK S7N 5E5, Canada.
BMC Neurology (Impact Factor: 2.49). 03/2012; 12:11. DOI: 10.1186/1471-2377-12-11
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Although historically considered a disease primarily affecting the white matter of the central nervous system, recent pathological and imaging studies have established that cortical demyelination is common in multiple sclerosis and more extensive than previously appreciated. Subpial, intracortical and leukocortical lesions are the three cortical lesion types described in the cerebral and cerebellar cortices of patients with multiple sclerosis. Cortical demyelination may be the pathological substrate of progression, and an important pathologic correlate of irreversible disability, epilepsy and cognitive impairment. Cortical lesions of chronic progressive multiple sclerosis patients are characterized by a dominant effector cell population of microglia, by the absence of macrophagic and leukocytic inflammatory infiltrates, and may be driven in part by organized meningeal inflammatory infiltrates. Cortical demyelination is also present and common in early MS, is topographically associated with prominent meningeal inflammation and may even precede the appearance of classic white matter plaques in some MS patients. However, the pathology of early cortical lesions is different than that of chronic MS in the sense that early cortical lesions are highly inflammatory, suggesting that neurodegeneration in MS occurs on an inflammatory background and raising interesting questions regarding the role of cortical demyelination and meningeal inflammation in initiating and perpetuating the disease process in early MS.

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    ABSTRACT: Background Gray matter (GM) and white matter (WM) pathology has an important role in disease progression of multiple sclerosis (MS). Objectives To investigate the association between the development of GM and WM pathology and clinical disease progression in patients with clinically isolated syndrome (CIS). Methods This prospective, observational, 48-month follow-up study examined 210 CIS patients treated with 30 µg of intramuscular interferon beta-1a once a week. MRI and clinical assessments were performed at baseline, 6, 12, 24, 36 and 48 months. Associations between clinical worsening [24-weeks sustained disability progression (SDP) and occurrence of a second clinical attack] and longitudinal changes in lesion accumulation and brain atrophy progression were investigated by a mixed-effect model analysis after correction for multiple comparisons. Results SDP was observed in 32 (15.2%) CIS patients, while 146 (69.5%) were stable and 32 (15.2%) showed sustained disability improvement. 112 CIS patients (53.3%) developed clinically definite MS (CDMS). CIS patients who developed SDP showed increased lateral ventricle volume (p < .001), decreased GM (p = .011) and cortical (p = .001) volumes compared to patients who remained stable or improved in disability. Converters to CDMS showed an increased rate of accumulation of number of new/enlarging T2 lesions (p < .001), decreased whole brain (p = .007) and increased lateral ventricle (p = .025) volumes. Conclusions Development of GM pathology and LVV enlargement are associated with SDP. Conversion to CDMS in patients with CIS over 48 months is dependent on the accumulation of new lesions, LVV enlargement and whole brain atrophy progression.
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