Intracranial venous haemodynamics in multiple sclerosis

Curr Neurovasc Res. 2007 Nov;4(4):252-8. doi: 10.2174/156720207782446298.


In multiple sclerosis (MS) plaques are known to be venocentric; in addition, MS lesions and peripheral venous disorders share a number of key features. To date, however, despite the anatomical relationship between MS lesions and the venous system, no information on the intracranial venous haemodynamics of MS is available. Eighty-nine consecutive MS patients (58 relapsing-remitting, 31 secondary progressive) matched with 60 controls underwent transcranial color-coded duplex sonography (TCCS). We assessed, in supine as well as in sitting positions, the direction of flow at the activation of the thoracic pump in the deep middle cerebral veins (dMCVs), and in the transverse sinus (TS). In the dMCVs, we also measured peak systolic velocity (PSV), peak diastolic velocity (PDV), as well as the resistance index (RI). Reflux/bidirectional flow rate was significantly higher in the MS population determining also significant differences in PDV, characterized by negative values (16.2+/-1 cm/sec in controls vs. -1.3 +/-2.6 cm/sec in MS, respectively, p<0.0001). Consequently, RI was dramatically increased in the MS group, affecting impedance of cerebral venous drainage (0.48+/-0.04 in controls vs. 1.1 +/-0.08 in MS, respectively p<0.0001). Therefore, the detection of reflux directed toward the subcortical grey matter was significantly associated to highest disability scores (p < 0.0001). Our study of MS patients demonstrated significant haemodynamic alterations detected in veins anatomically related to plaque disposition. Our findings should contribute towards understanding the role of altered venous flow and tissue drainage in the MS inflammatory chain, as well as in the neurodegenerative process.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cerebral Veins / diagnostic imaging
  • Cerebral Veins / physiology*
  • Cerebrovascular Circulation / physiology*
  • Disability Evaluation
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Multiple Sclerosis / diagnostic imaging
  • Multiple Sclerosis / physiopathology*
  • Pulse
  • Ultrasonography, Doppler, Transcranial
  • Vascular Resistance / physiology