TUESDAY, April 9, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Cortical lesion development surpasses white matter lesion accrual in multiple sclerosis (MS), according to a study published online April 9 in Radiology.

Constantina A. Treaba, M.D., Ph.D., from Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, and colleagues recruited 20 participants with relapsing-remitting MS, 13 with secondary progressive MS, and 10 age-matched healthy controls from 2010 to 2016. Participants underwent 7.0-T magnetic resonance imaging T2*-weighted gradient-echo imaging for cortical and white matter lesion segmentation and 3.0-T T1-weighted imaging for cortical surface reconstruction and cortical thickness estimation.

The researchers found that 81 percent of the 31 patients developed new cortical lesions per year (intracortical versus leukocortical, 1.3 ± 1.7 versus 0.7 ± 1.9), surpassing accrual of white matter lesions (cortical versus white matter, 2.0 ± 2.8 versus 0.7 ± 0.6). Participants with secondary progressive MS had greater cortical lesion accrual than those with relapsing-remitting MS (3.6 ± 4.2 versus 1.1 ± 0.9 lesions/year), with preferential localization in sulci. Baseline Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) and EDSS changes at follow-up were independently predicted by total cortical lesion volume.

“The rate of cortical lesion accumulation in MS patients is higher at 7.0-T compared with previous studies at lower field strength,” the authors write. “Given that this accumulation is associated with progression of neurologic disability, its quantification might represent a useful tool for improving the monitoring of disease burden evolution.”

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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