Background: Grey Matter (GM) atrophy has been extensively described in Multiple
Sclerosis (MS) patients, while cerebral hypoperfusion has been less consistently reported. Since
hypoperfusion might be related to atrophy, we evaluated the presence of both damages.
Objective: We aimed to assess if the regions of altered perfusion and atrophy overlapped with one
another and if the two parameters were locally related.
Method: 3D-T1 weighted and arterial spin labelling sequences were acquired using a 1.5T Magnetic
Resonance Imaging scanner from 26 relapsing remitting MS patients and 26 Healthy Controls
(HC). GM volume and Cerebral Blood Flow (CBF) differences and their correlation were
tested with a voxel-wise approach.
Results: MS patients (41.4±12.5 years; 14 females) had a median [25th-75th percentile range] Expanded
Disability Status Scale of 1.0[1.0-2.4] and a median [25th-75th percentile range] disease duration
of 8.0 [4.0-16.5] years. HC were age- and sex-matched (43.9±17.4 years; 11 females). GM
atrophy was detected for MS group in the right parahippocampal gyrus, thalami and left caudate
(pFWE≤0.05). Areas of significant (after family-wise error -FWE- correction for multiple comparisons)
(pFWE≤0.05) hypoperfusion were found for MS in the anterior cingulate and paracingulate
gyri, supplementary motor cortex, precentral and superior frontal gyrus. GM volume and CBF
showed a significant correlation (pFWE≤0.05) in the right lateral occipital cortex and precuneus in
the MS group.
Conclusions: GM atrophy and hypoperfusion in MS were located in different areas. Perfusion estimate
might be used as a further marker of tissue damage, in addition to GM volume.