Tensor based morphometry (TBM) was applied to determine the atrophy of deep gray matter (DGM) structures in 88 relapsing multiple sclerosis (MS) patients. For group analysis of atrophy, an unbiased atlas was constructed from 20 normal brains. The MS brain images were co-registered with the unbiased atlas using a symmetric inverse consistent nonlinear registration. These studies demonstrate significant atrophy of thalamus, caudate nucleus, and putamen even at a modest clinical disability, as assessed by the expanded disability status score (EDSS). A significant correlation between atrophy and EDSS was observed for different DGM structures: (thalamus: r=-0.51, p=3.85 x 10(-7); caudate nucleus: r=-0.43, p=2.35 x 10(-5); putamen: r=-0.36, p=6.12 x 10(-6)). Atrophy of these structures also correlated with 1) T2 hyperintense lesion volumes (thalamus: r=-0.56, p=9.96 x 10(-9); caudate nucleus: r=-0.31, p=3.10 x 10(-3); putamen: r=-0.50, p=6.06 x 10(-7)), 2) T1 hypointense lesion volumes (thalamus: r=-0.61, p=2.29 x 10(-10); caudate nucleus: r=-0.35, p=9.51 x 10(-4); putamen: r=-0.43, p=3.51 x 10(-5)), and 3) normalized CSF volume (thalamus: r=-0.66, p=3.55 x 10(-12); caudate nucleus: r=-0.52, p=2.31 x 10(-7), and putamen: r=-0.66, r=2.13 x 10(-12)). More severe atrophy was observed mainly in thalamus at higher EDSS. These studies appear to suggest a link between the white matter damage and DGM atrophy in MS.