Functional MR imaging correlates of neuropsychological impairment in primary-progressive multiple sclerosis

M. A. Rocca, G. Riccitelli, M. Rodegher, A. Ceccarelli, A. Falini, M. Falautano, A. Meani, G. Comi, Massimo Filippi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Cognitive deficits affect ≤30% of patients with PPMS. We investigated the functional correlates of cognitive network dysfunction in patients with PPMS and their correlation with the extent of structural MR imaging damage. MATERIALS AND METHODS: From 16 right-handed patients with PPMS and 17 matched controls, structural and fMRIs (during the performance of the 2-back task) were acquired. Neuropsychological tests exploring memory, attention, and frontal lobe cognitive domains were administered. T2 LL, NBV, and CC areas were measured. RESULTS: Six patients with PPMS were CI. Structural MR imaging measures did not differ between patients who were CI and those who were CP. Compared with patients who were CI, patients who were CP had increased activations of the left caudate nucleus, PFC, and inferior parietal lobule. Compared with controls and patients who were CP, patients who were CI had increased activations of the SII, cerebellum, and insula. Compared with controls, they also had increased activations of the right precentral gyrus and a reduced recruitment of the left PFC. In patients with PPMS, a decreased composite cognitive score correlated with increased activity of the cerebellum, insula, and SII, as well as decreased PFC activity. T2 LL correlated with decreased PFC recruitment and increased SII recruitment. CONCLUSIONS: In PPMS, an increased recruitment of cognitive-related networks might represent a functional reserve with the potential to limit the severity of cognitive impairment. The accumulation of T2 lesions and the consequent exhaustion of frontal lobe plasticity might contribute to cognitive impairment in PPMS.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1240-1246
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Neuroradiology
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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