The relationship between cognitive function and high-resolution diffusion tensor MRI of the cingulum bundle in multiple sclerosis

Mult Scler. 2015 Dec;21(14):1794-801. doi: 10.1177/1352458515576983. Epub 2015 Jun 23.


Background: Imaging can provide noninvasive neural markers of disease progression in multiple sclerosis (MS) that are related to behavioral and cognitive symptoms. Past work suggests that diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) provides a measure of white matter pathology, including demyelination and axonal counts.

Objectives: In the current study, the authors investigate the relationship of DTI measures in the cingulum bundle to common deficits in MS, including episodic memory, working memory, and information processing speed.

Methods: Fifty-seven patients with MS and 17 age- and education-matched controls underwent high-spatial resolution diffusion scans and cognitive testing. Probabilistic tracking was used to generate tracks from the posterior cingulate cortex to the entorhinal cortex.

Results: Radial and axial diffusivity values were significantly different between patients and controls (p < 0.031), and in patients bilateral diffusion measures were significantly related to measures of episodic memory and speed of processing (p < 0.033).

Conclusions: The tractography-based measures of posterior cingulum integrity reported here support further development of DTI as a viable measure of axonal integrity and cognitive function in patients with MS.

Keywords: Multiple sclerosis; cingulate gyrus; cognition; diffusion tensor imaging; disease progression; episodic memory.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cognition Disorders / etiology
  • Cognition Disorders / physiopathology*
  • Diffusion Tensor Imaging / methods*
  • Disease Progression
  • Female
  • Gyrus Cinguli / pathology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Memory, Episodic
  • Memory, Short-Term / physiology
  • Middle Aged
  • Multiple Sclerosis / complications
  • Multiple Sclerosis / pathology*
  • Neural Pathways / pathology
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology
  • White Matter / pathology*