Laminar analysis of the cerebellar cortex shows widespread damage in early MS patients: A pilot study at 7T MRI

Riccardo Galbusera, Katrin Parmar, Yohan Boillat, Mario Joao Fartaria, Alexandra-Ramona Todea, Kieran O' Brien, Anna Smolinski, Ludwig Kappos, Wietske van der Zwaag, Cristina Granziera

Research output: Contribution to journal/periodicalArticleScientificpeer-review

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Background: To date, little is known about the presence and extent of cerebellar cortical pathology in early stages of MS.

Objective: The aims of this study were to (i) investigate microstructural changes in the normal-appearing cerebellar cortex of early MS patients by using 7 T MRI and (ii) evaluate the influence of those changes on clinical performance.

Methods: Eighteen RRMS patients and nine healthy controls underwent quantitative T1 and T2* measurement at 7 T MRI using high-resolution MP2RAGE and multi-echo gradient-echo imaging. After subtracting lesion masks, average T1 and T2* maps were computed for three layers in the cerebellar cortex and compared between groups using mixed effects models.

Results: The volume of the cerebellar cortex and its layers did not differ between patients and controls. In MS patients, significantly longer T1 values were observed in all vermis cortical layers and in the middle and external cortical layer of the cerebellar hemispheres. No between-group differences in T2* values were found. T1 values correlated with EDSS, SDMT and PASAT.

Conclusions: We found MRI evidence of damage in the normal-appearing cerebellar cortex at early MS stages and before volumetric changes. This microstructural alteration appears to be related to EDSS and cognitive performance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2055217320961409
JournalMultiple sclerosis journal - experimental, translational and clinical
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 06 Nov 2020

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