The dynamic susceptibility contrast magnetic resonance imaging perfusion technique was used to investigate possible hemodynamic changes in normal appearing white matter and deep gray matter (DGM) of 30 patients with clinically isolated syndrome (CIS) and 30 patients with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis. Thirty normal volunteers were studied as controls. Cerebral blood volume, cerebral blood flow (CBF), and mean transit time values were estimated. Normalization was achieved for each subject with respect to average values of CBF and mean transit time of the hippocampi's dentate gyrus. Measurements concerned three regions of normal white matter of normal volunteers, normal appearing white matter of CIS and patients with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis, and DGM regions, bilaterally. All measured normal appearing white matter and DGM regions of the patients with CIS had significantly higher cerebral blood volume and mean transit time values, while averaged DGM regions had significantly lower CBF values, compared to those of normal volunteers (P < 0.001). Regarding patients with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis, all measured normal appearing white matter and DGM regions showed lower CBF values than those of normal volunteers and lower cerebral blood volume and CBF values compared to patients with CIS (P < 0.001). These data provide strong evidence that hemodynamic changes--affecting both white and DGM--may occur even at the earliest stage of multiple sclerosis, with CIS patients being significantly different than relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis patients.
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