Objectives: The aim of this study was to explore the evolution of MRI related gender differences in patients with relapsing-remitting (RR) multiple sclerosis (MS) who participated in a clinical trial over the 5 years.
Methods: 181 patients (39 males and 142 females) were assessed for clinical and neuroradiological disease activity over a period of 5 years. Clinical and MRI examination were performed at the baseline, 6, 12, 24, 36, 48 and 60 months. Longitudinal percentage volume changes in whole brain (PBVC), gray matter (PGMVC) white matter (PWMVC) cortex (PCVC), and lateral ventricles (PLVVC) were calculated by using direct methods (SIENA and SIENAX-multitimepoint). Absolute tissue volume changes of subcortical deep GM structures including caudate, putamen, globus pallidus, thalamus, hippocampus, amygdala and nucleus accumbens were estimated using FIRST, a model based segmentation/registration tool. T2 lesion volume (T2-LV) and lesion activity analyses were performed, using a contouring-threshold and subtraction techniques. All clinical and MRI variables were analyzed between males and females.
Results: Global (PBVC) and tissue specific (PGMVC, PWMVC, PCVC, PLVVC) brain volume changes showed no significant gender differences over the 5-year follow-up period. Although total subcortical deep GM, caudate, putamen, globus palidus, thalamus and nucleus accumbens normalized volumes were significantly larger in male subjects at baseline, the follow-up analysis showed no differences over the 5 years. There were no gender differences in lesion activity or T2-LV changes over the 5 years.
Conclusion: No MRI lesion, global, tissue specific or regional brain volume gender change differences were found over the 5-year follow-up.
Keywords: Brain atrophy; Gender; Lesion volume and activity; MRI; Multiple sclerosis.
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