Structural and functional hippocampal alterations in Multiple sclerosis and neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder

Fenglian Zheng, Yuxin Li, Zhizheng Zhuo, Yunyun Duan, Guanmei Cao, Decai Tian, Xinghu Zhang, Kuncheng Li, Fuqing Zhou, Muhua Huang, Haiqing Li, Yongmei Li, Chun Zeng, Ningnannan Zhang, Jie Sun, Chunshui Yu, Xuemei Han, Sven Hallar, Frederik Barkhof, Yaou Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Hippocampal involvement may differ between multiple sclerosis (MS) and neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder (NMOSD). Objective: To investigate the morphometric, diffusion and functional alterations in hippocampus in MS and NMOSD and the clinical significance. Methods: A total of 752 participants including 236 MS, 236 NMOSD and 280 healthy controls (HC) were included in this retrospective multi-center study. The hippocampus and subfield volumes, fractional anisotropy (FA) and mean diffusivity (MD), amplitude of low frequency fluctuation (ALFF) and degree centrality (DC) were analyzed, and their associations with clinical variables were investigated. Results: The hippocampus showed significantly lower volume, FA and greater MD in MS compared to NMOSD and HC (p < 0.05), while no abnormal ALFF or DC was identified in any group. Hippocampal subfields were affected in both diseases, though subiculum, presubiculum and fimbria showed significantly lower volume only in MS (p < 0.05). Significant correlations between diffusion alterations, several subfield volumes and clinical variables were observed in both diseases, especially in MS (R = −0.444 to 0.498, p < 0.05). FA and MD showed fair discriminative power between MS and HC, NMOSD and HC (AUC > 0.7). Conclusions: Hippocampal atrophy and diffusion abnormalities were identified in MS and NMOSD, partly explaining how clinical disability and cognitive impairment are differentially affected.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)707-717
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2022

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