White Matter Tract Injury is Associated with Deep Gray Matter Iron Deposition in Multiple Sclerosis

Niels Bergsland, Eleonora Tavazzi, Maria Marcella Laganà, Francesca Baglio, Pietro Cecconi, Stefano Viotti, Robert Zivadinov, Giuseppe Baselli, Marco Rovaris

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: With respect to healthy controls (HCs), increased iron concentrations in the deep gray matter (GM) and decreased white matter (WM) integrity are common findings in multiple sclerosis (MS) patients. The association between these features of the disease remains poorly understood. We investigated the relationship between deep iron deposition in the deep GM and WM injury in associated fiber tracts in MS patients. METHODS: Sixty-six MS patients (mean age 50.0 years, median Expanded Disability Status Scale 5.25, mean disease duration 19.1 years) and 29 HCs, group matched for age and sex were imaged on a 1.5T scanner. Susceptibility-weighted imaging and diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) were used for assessing high-pass filtered phase values in the deep GM and normal appearing WM (NAWM) integrity in associated fiber tracts, respectively. Correlation analyses investigated the associations between filtered phase values (suggestive of iron content) and WM damage. RESULTS: Areas indicative of increased iron levels were found in the left and right caudates as well as in the left thalamus. MS patients presented with decreased DTI-derived measures of tissue integrity in the associated WM tracts. Greater mean, axial and radial diffusivities were associated with increased iron levels in all three GM areas (r values .393 to .514 with corresponding P values .003 to

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Neuroimaging
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - May 30 2016


  • Diffusion tensor imaging
  • Iron deposition
  • MRI
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Tractography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Clinical Neurology


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