Thaler C, Hartramph I, Stellmann JP, Heesen C, Bester M, Fiehler J, Gellißen S

Background: Cortical and thalamic pathologies have been associated with cognitive impairment in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS). Objective: We aimed to quantify cortical and thalamic damage in patients with MS using a high-resolution T1 mapping technique and to evaluate the association of these changes with clinical and cognitive impairment. Methods: The study group consisted of 49 patients with mainly relapsing-remitting MS and 17 age-matched healthy controls who received 3T MRIs including a T1 mapping sequence (MP2RAGE). Mean T1 relaxation times (T1-RT) in the cortex and thalami were compared between patients with MS and healthy controls. Additionally, correlation analysis was performed to assess the relationship between MRI parameters and clinical and cognitive disability. Results: Patients with MS had significantly decreased normalized brain, gray matter, and white matter volumes, as well as increased T1-RT in the normal-appearing white matter, compared to healthy controls (p < 0.001). Partial correlation analysis with age, sex, and disease duration as covariates revealed correlations for T1-RT in the cortex (r = -0.33, p < 0.05), and thalami (right thalamus: r = -0.37, left thalamus: r = -0.50, both p < 0.05) with working memory and information processing speed, as measured by the Symbol-Digit Modalities Test. Conclusion: T1-RT in the cortex and thalamus correlate with information processing speed in patients with MS. 

Front Neurol. 2021 Dec 3;12:789812

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