Objectives: To assess the presence of perfusion abnormalities in the deep gray matter of patients with relapsing-remitting and primary progressive multiple sclerosis (MS) in comparison with healthy controls and to investigate the impact of perfusion impairment on clinical disability and fatigue.
Setting: Research-oriented hospital. Patients Twenty-two patients with MS and 11 age- and sex-matched healthy volunteers. Intervention Absolute cerebral blood flow, cerebral blood volume, and mean transit time were measured in the thalamus, putamen, and caudate nuclei.
Main outcome measures: Decrease of cerebral blood flow in the deep gray matter of patients with MS and correlation between perfusion impairment and the severity of fatigue.
Results: The cerebral blood flow value averaged over the thalamus, putamen, and caudate nuclei was significantly lower in patients with primary progressive MS (P<.001) and in patients with relapsing-remitting MS (P = .01) compared with controls, and there was a trend for patients with primary progressive MS to have lower average cerebral blood flow than patients with relapsing-remitting MS (P = .06). With respect to cerebral blood volume, there was a significant difference between patients with primary progressive MS and controls (P<.001) and between the 2 groups of patients (P = .03) but not between patients with relapsing-remitting MS and controls (P>.30). The fatigue score was significantly correlated with cerebral blood flow (r = 0.4; P<.001) and cerebral blood volume (r = 0.5; P = .004).
Conclusion: The decrease of tissue perfusion in the deep gray matter of patients with MS is associated with the severity of fatigue.