Longitudinal gray matter changes in multiple sclerosis-Differential scanner and overall disease-related effects

Kerstin Bendfeldt, Louis Hofstetter, Pascal Kuster, Stefan Traud, Nicole Mueller-Lenke, Yvonne Naegelin, Ludwig Kappos, Achim Gass, Thomas E. Nichols, Frederik Barkhof, Hugo Vrenken, Stefan D. Roosendaal, Jeroen J.G. Geurts, Ernst Wilhelm Radue, Stefan J. Borgwardt*

*Corresponding author for this work
32 Citations (Scopus)


Voxel-based morphometry (VBM) has been used repeatedly in single-center studies to investigate regional gray matter (GM) atrophy in multiple sclerosis (MS). In multi-center trials, across-scanner variations might interfere with the detection of disease-specific structural abnormalities, thereby potentially limiting the use of VBM. Here we evaluated longitudinally inter-site differences and inter-site comparability of regional GM in MS using VBM. Baseline and follow up 3D T1-weighted magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) data of 248 relapsing-remitting (RR) MS patients, recruited in two clinical centers, (center1/2: n = 129/119; mean age 42.6 ± 10.7/43.3 ± 9.3; male:female 33:96/44:75; median disease duration 150 [72-222]/116 [60-156]) were acquired on two different 1.5T MR scanners. GM volume changes between baseline and year 2 while controlling for age, gender, disease duration, and global GM volume were analyzed. The main effect of time on regional GM volume was larger in data of center two as compared to center one in most of the brain regions. Differential effects of GM volume reductions occured in a number of GM regions of both hemispheres, in particular in the fronto-temporal and limbic cortex (cluster P corrected <0.05). Overall disease-related effects were found bilaterally in the cerebellum, uncus, inferior orbital gyrus, paracentral lobule, precuneus, inferior parietal lobule, and medial frontal gyrus (cluster P corrected <0.05). The differential effects were smaller as compared to the overall effects in these regions. These results suggest that the effects of different scanners on longitudinal GM volume differences were rather small and thus allow pooling of MR data and subsequent combined image analysis.

Original languageEnglish
JournalHuman Brain Mapping
Issue number5
Pages (from-to)1225-1245
Number of pages21
Publication statusPublished - 05.2012


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