The substrate of increased cortical FA in MS: A 7T post-mortem MRI and histopathology study

Laura E. Jonkman, Roel Klaver, Lazar Fleysher, Matilde Inglese, Jeroen J. G. Geurts

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27 Citations (Scopus)


Using diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), it was previously found that demyelinated gray matter (GM) lesions have increased fractional anisotropy (FA) when compared to normal-appearing gray matter (NAGM) in multiple sclerosis (MS). The biological substrate underlying this FA change is so far unclear; both neurodegenerative changes and microglial activation have been proposed as causal contributors.

To test the proposed hypothesis that microglia activation is responsible for increased FA in cortical GM lesions.

We investigated post-mortem cortical DTI changes in hemispheric, coronally cut sections and investigated the underlying histopathology using immunohistochemistry.

Overall, there were few activated microglia/macrophages, and no difference between GM lesions and NAGM was observed. However, cell density was increased in GM lesions compared to NAGM (309.67 ± standard deviation (SD) 124.44 vs 249.95 ± SD 56.75, p = 0.002).

FA increase was not due to lesional and non-lesional differences in microglia activation and/or proliferation. We found an increase in general cellular density without a notable difference in cellular size, that is, tissue compaction, as a possible alternative explanation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1804-1811
Issue number14
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2016


  • 7T MRI
  • DTI
  • FA
  • MD
  • cortical lesions
  • histopathology
  • multiple sclerosis

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