Perfusion alterations within several brain regions have been shown in multiple sclerosis patients using different magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) techniques. Furthermore, MRI-derived brain perfusion metrics have been investigated in association with multiple sclerosis phenotypes, physical disability, and cognitive impairment. However, a review focused on these aspects is still missing. Our aim was to review all the studies investigating the relationship between perfusion MRI and clinical severity during the last fifteen years to understand the clinical relevance of these findings. Perfusion differences among phenotypes were observed both with 1.5T and 3T scanners, with progressive multiple sclerosis presenting with lower perfusion values than relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis patients. However, only 3T scanners showed a statistically significant distinction. Controversial results about the association between MRI-derived perfusion metrics and physical disability scores were found. However, the majority of the studies showed that lower brain perfusion and longer transit time are associated with more severe physical disability and worse cognitive performances.
Keywords: MRI; brain perfusion; cerebral blood flow; cognition; disability; magnetic resonance imaging; multiple sclerosis; phenotypes; progressive; relapsing remitting.