Iron accumulation in multiple sclerosis: an early pathogenic event

Expert Rev Neurother. 2013 Mar;13(3):247-50. doi: 10.1586/ern.13.14.


Iron has been shown to accumulate in deep gray matter structures in many forms of multiple sclerosis (MS), but detecting its presence early in the disease course (e.g., clinically isolated syndrome [CIS]) has been less clear. Here, we review a recent study where MRI scanning at 7 T together with susceptibility mapping was performed to assess iron deposition in CIS and control subjects. Susceptibility indicative of iron deposition was found to be increased in the globus pallidus, caudate, putamen and pulvinar of CIS patients compared with controls. The findings suggest that iron deposition is a pathological change that occurs early in the development of MS. Identifying the mechanisms of iron accumulation and determining whether iron promotes pathogenesis in MS are important areas of future research.