Voxelwise assessment of the regional distribution of damage in the brains of patients with multiple sclerosis and fatigue

G. Riccitelli, M. A. Rocca, C. Forn, B. Colombo, G. Comi, Massimo Filippi

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BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Fatigue affects up to 90% of patients with MS. We assessed the regional distribution of lesions and atrophy of the normal-appearing WM and GM in patients with RRMS with fatigue compared with HC and patients with similar characteristics, but without fatigue. MATERIALS AND METHODS: From 14 patients with RRMS without fatigue, 10 with RRMS with fatigue, and 14 HC, we acquired brain dual-echo and high-resolution T1-weighted scans. Voxel-wise distributions of GM, WM damage, and T2 lesions were compared between patients with fatigued and nonfatigued MS by using SPM5 software. We report results at P <.05, FWE corrected. RESULTS: T2 lesion distribution and regional WM atrophy did not differ between patients with fatigued and nonfatigued MS. Compared with HC, patients with MS had significant WM atrophy in the posterior part of the corpus callosum and significant GM atrophy of the left superior frontal sulcus, left precentral gyrus, posterior cingulate cortex, right thalamus, and left middle frontal gyrus. No additional areas of atrophy were found in patients with nonfatigued MS compared with HC, whereas patients with fatigued MS also had atrophy of the left central sulcus. Atrophy in the left central sulcus and the precentral gyrus was more severe in patients with fatigued versus nonfatigued MS. In patients with MS, significant correlations were found between fatigue severity and GM atrophy in the left precentral gyrus (r = -0.73, P <.0001 uncorrected). CONCLUSIONS: Atrophy of the primary sensorimotor area is likely to contribute to MS-related fatigue.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)874-879
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Neuroradiology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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