Correlation between white matter damage and gray matter lesions in multiple sclerosis patients.

Research paper by Xue-Mei XM Han, Hong-Ji HJ Tian, Zheng Z Han, Ce C Zhang, Ying Y Liu, Jie-Bing JB Gu, Rohit R Bakshi, Xia X Cao

Indexed on: 16 Jun '17Published on: 16 Jun '17Published in: Neural regeneration research


We observed the characteristics of white matter fibers and gray matter in multiple sclerosis patients, to identify changes in diffusion tensor imaging fractional anisotropy values following white matter fiber injury. We analyzed the correlation between fractional anisotropy values and changes in whole-brain gray matter volume. The participants included 20 patients with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis and 20 healthy volunteers as controls. All subjects underwent head magnetic resonance imaging and diffusion tensor imaging. Our results revealed that fractional anisotropy values decreased and gray matter volumes were reduced in the genu and splenium of corpus callosum, left anterior thalamic radiation, hippocampus, uncinate fasciculus, right corticospinal tract, bilateral cingulate gyri, and inferior longitudinal fasciculus in multiple sclerosis patients. Gray matter volumes were significantly different between the two groups in the right frontal lobe (superior frontal, middle frontal, precentral, and orbital gyri), right parietal lobe (postcentral and inferior parietal gyri), right temporal lobe (caudate nucleus), right occipital lobe (middle occipital gyrus), right insula, right parahippocampal gyrus, and left cingulate gyrus. The voxel sizes of atrophic gray matter positively correlated with fractional anisotropy values in white matter association fibers in the patient group. These findings suggest that white matter fiber bundles are extensively injured in multiple sclerosis patients. The main areas of gray matter atrophy in multiple sclerosis are the frontal lobe, parietal lobe, caudate nucleus, parahippocampal gyrus, and cingulate gyrus. Gray matter atrophy is strongly associated with white matter injury in multiple sclerosis patients, particularly with injury to association fibers.