Brain atrophy in relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis: fractional volumetric analysis of gray matter and white matter

Radiology. 2001 Sep;220(3):606-10. doi: 10.1148/radiol.2203001776.


Purpose: To determine the fractional brain tissue volume changes in the gray matter and white matter of patients with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (MS) and to correlate these measurements with clinical disability and total lesion load.

Materials and methods: Thirty patients with relapsing-remitting MS and 25 healthy control subjects underwent magnetic resonance imaging. Fractional brain tissue volumes (tissue volume relative to total intracranial volume) were obtained from the total segmented gray matter and white matter in each group and were analyzed.

Results: The fractional volume of white matter versus that of gray matter was significantly lower (-6.4%) in patients with MS (P <.0001) than in control subjects. Neither gray matter nor white matter fractional volume measurements correlated with clinical disability in the patients with MS.

Conclusion: Loss of brain parenchymal volume in patients with relapsing-remitting MS is predominantly confined to white matter. Analysis of fractional brain tissue volumes provides additional information useful in characterizing MS and may have potential in evaluating treatment strategies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Atrophy
  • Brain / pathology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Models, Statistical
  • Multiple Sclerosis / pathology*