The predictive value of gray matter atrophy in clinically isolated syndromes

Multiple Sclerosis Centre of Veneto Region, First Neurology Clinic, Department of Neurosciences, University Hospital of Padova, Via Giustiniani 5, 35128 Padova, Italy.
Neurology (Impact Factor: 8.29). 05/2011; 77(3):257-63. DOI: 10.1212/WNL.0b013e318220abd4
Source: PubMed


Although gray matter (GM) atrophy is recognized as a common feature of multiple sclerosis (MS), conflicting results have been obtained in patients with clinically isolated syndromes (CIS). Methodologic and clinical constraints may take account for literature discrepancies.
A total of 105 patients presenting with CIS and 42 normal controls (NC) were studied. At baseline, 65/105 patients with CIS met the criterion of dissemination in space of lesions (DIS+). All patients were clinically assessed by means of the Expanded Disability Status Scale every 6 months and underwent MRI evaluation at study entry and then annually for 4 years. Global and regional cortical thickness and deep GM atrophy were assessed using Freesurfer.
No significant reduction in GM atrophy was observed between the entire CIS group and the NC, excepting for the cerebellum cortical volume. When the 59 patients with CIS (46 DIS+, 13 DIS-) who converted to MS during the follow-up were compared to the NC, a significant atrophy in the precentral gyrus, superior frontal gyrus, thalamus, and putamen was observed (p ranging from 0.05 to 0.001). The multivariate analysis identified the atrophy of superior frontal gyrus, thalamus, and cerebellum as independent predictors of conversion to MS. CIS with atrophy of such areas had a double risk of conversion compared to DIS+ (odds ratio 9.6 vs 5.0).
Selective GM atrophy is relevant in patients with CIS who convert early to MS. The inclusion of GM analysis in the MS diagnostic workup is worthy of further investigation.

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