Determinants of cerebral atrophy rate at the time of diagnosis of multiple sclerosis

Arch Neurol. 2007 Feb;64(2):190-4. doi: 10.1001/archneur.64.2.190.


Objective: To identify determinants visible on magnetic resonance imaging of the brain that explain the subsequent rate of cerebral atrophy in patients with recently diagnosed multiple sclerosis.

Design: Magnetic resonance imaging of the brain was performed at baseline and after 2 years. T2 hyperintense lesion load, black hole lesion load, presence of contrast-enhancing lesions, and normalized brain volume were derived from the baseline magnetic resonance imaging and considered as possible explanatory variables for the subsequent annualized percentage of brain volume change (PBVC/y) using forward stepwise multiple linear regression analysis.

Setting: MS center Amsterdam, Department of Neurology, VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Patients Eighty-nine patients recently diagnosed as having multiple sclerosis were included at the time of diagnosis from our outpatient clinic. Main Outcome Measure Annualized percentage of brain volume change.

Results: The mean (SD) annualized rate of cerebral atrophy was -0.9 (0.8) PBVC/y. Baseline normalized brain volume (standardized coefficient, 0.426; P = .001) and baseline T2 lesion load (standardized coefficient, -0.244; P = .02) were identified as explanatory variables for subsequent PBVC/y and yielded a regression model that explained 31.2% of the variance in PBVC/y.

Conclusions: In patients with recently diagnosed multiple sclerosis, the extent of accumulated brain tissue loss and overall lesion load partly explain the subsequent rate of cerebral atrophy.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Atrophy
  • Cerebral Cortex / pathology*
  • Disease Progression
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Linear Models
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multiple Sclerosis / diagnosis*
  • Time Factors