Measurement and clinical effect of grey matter pathology in multiple sclerosis
During the past 10 years, the intense involvement of the grey matter of the CNS in the pathology of multiple sclerosis has become evident. On gross inspection, demyelination in the grey matter is rather inconspicuous, and lesions in the grey matter are mostly undetectable with traditional MRI sequences. However, the results of immunohistochemical studies have shown extensive involvement of grey matter, and researchers have developed and applied new MRI acquisition methods as a result. Imaging techniques specifically developed to visualise grey matter lesions indicate early involvement, and image analysis techniques designed to measure the volume of grey matter show progressive loss. Together, these techniques have shown that grey matter pathology is associated with neurological and neuropsychological disability, and the strength of this association exceeds that related to white matter lesions or whole brain atrophy. By focusing on the latest insights into the in-vivo measurement of grey matter lesions and atrophy, we can assess their clinical effects.
[Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: SEE CHARD AND MILLER DOI101093/BRAIN/AWV354 FOR A SCIENTIFIC COMMENTARY ON THIS ARTICLE: .Grey matter atrophy is common in multiple sclerosis. However, in contrast with other neurodegenerative diseases, it is unclear whether grey matter atrophy in multiple sclerosis is a diffuse 'global' process or develops, instead, according to distinct anatomical patterns. Using source-based morphometry we searched for anatomical patterns of co-varying cortical thickness and assessed their relationships with white matter pathology, physical disability and cognitive functioning. Magnetic resonance imaging was performed at 3 T in 208 patients with long-standing multiple sclerosis (141 females; age = 53.7 ± 9.6 years; disease duration = 20.2 ± 7.1 years) and 60 age- and sex-matched healthy controls. Spatial independent component analysis was performed on cortical thickness maps derived from 3D T1-weighted images across all subjects to identify co-varying patterns. The loadings, which reflect the presence of each cortical thickness pattern in a subject, were compared between patients with multiple sclerosis and healthy controls with generalized linear models. Stepwise linear regression analyses were used to assess whether white matter pathology was associated with these loadings and to identify the cortical thickness patterns that predict measures of physical and cognitive dysfunction. Ten cortical thickness patterns were identified, of which six had significantly lower loadings in patients with multiple sclerosis than in controls: the largest loading differences corresponded to the pattern predominantly involving the bilateral temporal pole and entorhinal cortex, and the pattern involving the bilateral posterior cingulate cortex. In patients with multiple sclerosis, overall white matter lesion load was negatively associated with the loadings of these two patterns. The final model for physical dysfunction as measured with Expanded Disability Status Scale score (adjusted R(2) = 0.297; P < 0.001) included the predictors age, overall white matter lesion load, the loadings of two cortical thickness patterns (bilateral sensorimotor cortex and bilateral insula), and global cortical thickness. The final model predicting average cognition (adjusted R(2) = 0.469; P < 0.001) consisted of age, the loadings of two cortical thickness patterns (bilateral posterior cingulate cortex and bilateral temporal pole), overall white matter lesion load and normal-appearing white matter integrity. Although white matter pathology measures were part of the final clinical regression models, they explained limited incremental variance (to a maximum of 4%). Several cortical atrophy patterns relevant for multiple sclerosis were found. This suggests that cortical atrophy in multiple sclerosis occurs largely in a non-random manner and develops (at least partly) according to distinct anatomical patterns. In addition, these cortical atrophy patterns showed stronger associations with clinical (especially cognitive) dysfunction than global cortical atrophy.0Comments 1Citation
- "In the past years, grey matter atrophy in multiple sclerosis has been recognized as a crucial component of the disease (Geurts et al., 2012; Filippi et al., 2014). Grey matter atrophy is present early in the disease (Calabrese et al., 2007; Bergsland et al., 2012), differs across clinical subtypes (Fisher et al., 2008; Roosendaal et al., 2011), is more pronounced in males (Schoonheim et al., 2012), and shows stronger associations with clinical (especially cognitive) dysfunction than the well-known white matter pathology (Sailer et al., 2003; Benedict et al., 2004; Fisniku et al., 2008; Hulst et al., 2014; Daams et al., 2015a b). "
[Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background Brain volume atrophy is observed in relapsing–remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS). Methods Brain volume changes were evaluated in 23 patients with RRMS treated with interferon β-1a 44 μg given subcutaneously (SC) three times a week (tiw) and 15 healthy controls. Percentages of whole brain and tissue-specific volume change were measured from baseline (0 months) to 3 months, from 3 to 6 months, and from baseline to 6 months using SIENAX Multi Time Point (SX-MTP) algorithms. Immunological status of patients was also determined and correlations between subsets of T cells and changes in brain volume were assessed. Results Interferon β-1a 44 μg SC tiw in 23 patients with RRMS resulted in significant reductions in whole brain and gray matter tissue volume early in the treatment course (baseline to 3 months; mean change; –0.95 %; P = 0.030, –1.52 %; P = 0.004, respectively), suggesting a short-term treatment-induced pseudoatrophy effect. From baseline to 6 months, there were significant correlations observed between decreased T- cell expression of IL-17 F and decreased whole brain and brain tissue-specific volume. Conclusions These findings are consistent with the interpretation of the pseudoatrophy effect as resolution of inflammation following treatment initiation with interferon β-1a 44 μg SC tiw, rather than disease-related tissue loss. Trial registration ClinicalTrials.gov; NCT010853180Comments 0Citations
- "If correct, though, these exploratory results merit speculation about the potential pathophysiological basis for the observed GM changes. Over the past decade, it has become clear that GM plays an enormous role in both the pathology and the clinical picture of multiple sclerosis  . What remains unclear is whether the involvement of GM is secondary to WM damage or a semi-independent process . "
[Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The matricellular proteins, secreted protein acidic and rich in cysteine (SPARC) and SPARC-like 1 (SPARCL1), are produced by astrocytes and control excitatory synaptogenesis in the central nervous system. While SPARCL1 directly promotes excitatory synapse formation in vitro and in the developing nervous system in vivo, SPARC specifically antagonizes the synaptogenic actions of SPARCL1. We hypothesized these proteins also help maintain existing excitatory synapses in adult hosts, and that local inflammation in the spinal cord alters their production in a way that dynamically modulates motor synapses and impacts the severity of paralysis during experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) in mice. Using a spontaneously remitting EAE model, paralysis severity correlated inversely with both expression of synaptic proteins and the number of synapses in direct contact with the perikarya of motor neurons in spinal gray matter. In both remitting and non-remitting EAE models, paralysis severity also correlated inversely with sparcl1:sparc transcript and SPARCL1:SPARC protein ratios directly in lumbar spinal cord tissue. In vitro, astrocyte production of both SPARCL1 and SPARC was regulated by T cell-derived cytokines, causing dynamic modulation of the SPARCL1:SPARC expression ratio. Taken together, these data support a model whereby proinflammatory cytokines inhibit SPARCL1 and/or augment SPARC expression by astrocytes in spinal gray matter that, in turn, cause either transient or sustained synaptic retraction from lumbar spinal motor neurons thereby regulating hind limb paralysis during EAE. Ongoing studies seek ways to alter this SPARCL1:SPARC expression ratio in favor of synapse reformation/maintenance and thus help to modulate neurologic deficits during times of inflammation. This could identify new astrocyte-targeted therapies for diseases such as multiple sclerosis.0Comments 0Citations
- "This experimental system has been extensively studied to gain mechanistic insight into MS relapses and remissions. Based on growing evidence of gray matter pathology in MS (Vercellino, 2005; Stadelmann et al., 2008; Geurts et al., 2012; Calabrese et al., 2015), the occurrence and persistence of synaptic abnormalities has become an emerging area of investigation in both MS and EAE. Numerous studies now show direct tissue evidence of reduced synapse density (Vercellino, 2005; Stadelmann et al., 2008; Michailidou et al., 2015), or reduced expression of pre-and post-synaptic proteins (Vercellino, 2005), in gray matter lesions from MS autopsy specimens. "