Neuropsychological correlates of cerebellar volumes in multiple sclerosis: an MRI volumetric analysis study

Journal of integrative neuroscience

J Integr Neurosci. 2022 Jan 28;21(1):13. doi: 10.31083/j.jin2101013.


The hallmark of Multiple Sclerosis (MS) pathophysiology is the damage to the myelin sheath around axons. The cerebellum is a predilection site for demyelination with a well-recognized role in motor and a rather understudied contribution to cognitive functions. The aim of this study is to investigate patterns of cerebellar grey and white matter pathology, expressed as reduced volume, as well as cortical thickness and their potential contribution to cognitive performance and disability status of patients with MS. 24 patients with MS underwent extensive neuropsychological assessment using paper and pencil tests and the Brain Health Assessment (BHA) tablet-based battery. Cerebellar lobular volumes and thickness were calculated using a volumetric analysis with automated segmentation of the cerebellum and its lobules. The main findings are a reduction of cerebellar grey matter (CGMV) and white matter volumes (CWMV) in lobule X and a widespread cerebellar cortical thinning in patients. Overall disease severity and neurological disability, assessed with the Expanded Disability Status Severity Scale, was correlated with fatigue and information processing speed tasks, but not with CGMV and CWMV. CWMV and CGMV of lobule I-II was negatively correlated with information processing speed, as well as visuospatial memory tests and, finally, inverse cortical thinning associations were noted between the whole cerebellum, lobule I-II, lobule III, lobule VI, Crus I, lobule VIIIA and information processing speed and verbal fluency tasks. The inverse associations observed may represent a compensatory mechanism activated in MS engaging additional high-level cortical areas functionally interconnected with the damaged cerebellum, in order to cope with the cognitive demands of a task.

PMID:35164449 | DOI:10.31083/j.jin2101013


Paraskevi Iliadou
Christos Bakirtzis
Panagiotis Ioannidis
Katherine Possin
Stelios Zygouris
Styliani-Aggeliki Sintila
Nikolaos Grigoriadis
Eleni Aretouli