Publications

2016
Charles RG Guttmann, Matthieu Rousset, Jean A Roch, Salem Hannoun, Françoise Durand-Dubief, Boubakeur Belaroussi, Michele Cavallari, Muriel Rabilloud, Dominique Sappey-Marinier, Sandra Vukusic, and François Cotton. 2016. “Multiple sclerosis lesion formation and early evolution revisited: A weekly high-resolution magnetic resonance imaging study.” Mult Scler, 22, 6, Pp. 761-9.Abstract
BACKGROUND: Several magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) studies investigated the evolution of multiple sclerosis (MS) lesions to understand the pathophysiological mechanisms leading to blood-brain barrier breakdown and lesion formation. Only a few assessed the early natural history of MS lesions using short-interval longitudinal MRI. OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was to characterize MS lesion occurrence and early evolution on high-resolution MRI acquired at weekly intervals. METHODS: Active lesions were characterized on 3D fluid attenuation inversion recovery (FLAIR) and gadolinium-enhanced 3D T1-weighted MRI performed weekly (seven weeks) on five untreated patients with relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS). RESULTS: Active lesions (n=212) were detected in all patients. All showed contrast-enhancement on at least one time-point. Most new lesions (83.5%) were visible on FLAIR and post-contrast T1-weighted images at first detection; 11.2% showed activity on FLAIR images, one or more weeks before the appearance of contrast-enhancement; 12.5% enhanced before being apparent on FLAIR. CONCLUSION: Blood brain barrier disruption is a constant step in the natural history of active MS lesions, but does not always constitute the initial event. These findings are consistent with the existence of a subpopulation of lesions with an 'inside-out' genesis, where neurodegenerative processes might precede microglial activation, and a subsequent adaptive immune response.
Michele Cavallari, Weiying Dai, Charles RG Guttmann, Dominik S Meier, Long H Ngo, Tammy T Hshieh, Amy E Callahan, Tamara G Fong, Eva Schmitt, Bradford C Dickerson, Daniel Z Press, Edward R Marcantonio, Richard N Jones, Sharon K Inouye, and David C Alsop. 2016. “Neural substrates of vulnerability to postsurgical delirium as revealed by presurgical diffusion MRI.” Brain, 139, Pt 4, Pp. 1282-94.Abstract
Despite the significant impact of postoperative delirium on surgical outcomes and the long-term prognosis of older patients, its neural basis has not yet been clarified. In this study we investigated the impact of premorbid brain microstructural integrity, as measured by diffusion tensor imaging before surgery, on postoperative delirium incidence and severity, as well as the relationship among presurgical cognitive performance, diffusion tensor imaging abnormalities and postoperative delirium. Presurgical diffusion tensor imaging scans of 136 older (≥70 years), dementia-free subjects from the prospective Successful Aging after Elective Surgery study were analysed blind to the clinical data and delirium status. Primary outcomes were postoperative delirium incidence and severity during the hospital stay, as assessed by the Confusion Assessment Method. We measured cognition before surgery using general cognitive performance, a composite score based on a battery of neuropsychological tests. We investigated the association between presurgical diffusion tensor imaging parameters of brain microstructural integrity (i.e. fractional anisotropy, axial, mean and radial diffusivity) with postoperative delirium incidence and severity. Analyses were adjusted for the following potential confounders: age, gender, vascular comorbidity status, and general cognitive performance. Postoperative delirium occurred in 29 of 136 subjects (21%) during hospitalization. Presurgical diffusion tensor imaging abnormalities of the cerebellum, cingulum, corpus callosum, internal capsule, thalamus, basal forebrain, occipital, parietal and temporal lobes, including the hippocampus, were associated with delirium incidence and severity, after controlling for age, gender and vascular comorbidities. After further controlling for general cognitive performance, diffusion tensor imaging abnormalities of the cerebellum, hippocampus, thalamus and basal forebrain still remained associated with delirium incidence and severity. This study raises the intriguing possibility that structural dysconnectivity involving interhemispheric and fronto-thalamo-cerebellar networks, as well as microstructural changes of structures involved in limbic and memory functions predispose to delirium under the stress of surgery. While the diffusion tensor imaging abnormalities observed in the corpus callosum, cingulum, and temporal lobe likely constitute the neural substrate for the association between premorbid cognition, as measured by general cognitive performance, and postoperative delirium, the microstructural changes observed in the cerebellum, hippocampus, thalamus and basal forebrain seem to constitute a separate phenomenon that predisposes to postsurgical delirium independent of presurgical cognitive status.
Michele Cavallari, Charles RG Guttmann, Richard N Jones, Sharon K Inouye, and David C Alsop. 2016. “Reply: Neural substrates of vulnerability to post-surgical delirium with prospective diagnosis.” Brain, 139, Pt 10, Pp. e55.
Claudio Stamile, Gabriel Kocevar, François Cotton, Françoise Durand-Dubief, Salem Hannoun, Carole Frindel, Charles RG Guttmann, David Rousseau, and Dominique Sappey-Marinier. 2016. “A Sensitive and Automatic White Matter Fiber Tracts Model for Longitudinal Analysis of Diffusion Tensor Images in Multiple Sclerosis.” PLoS One, 11, 5, Pp. e0156405.Abstract
Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) is a sensitive tool for the assessment of microstructural alterations in brain white matter (WM). We propose a new processing technique to detect, local and global longitudinal changes of diffusivity metrics, in homologous regions along WM fiber-bundles. To this end, a reliable and automatic processing pipeline was developed in three steps: 1) co-registration and diffusion metrics computation, 2) tractography, bundle extraction and processing, and 3) longitudinal fiber-bundle analysis. The last step was based on an original Gaussian mixture model providing a fine analysis of fiber-bundle cross-sections, and allowing a sensitive detection of longitudinal changes along fibers. This method was tested on simulated and clinical data. High levels of F-Measure were obtained on simulated data. Experiments on cortico-spinal tract and inferior fronto-occipital fasciculi of five patients with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) included in a weekly follow-up protocol highlighted the greater sensitivity of this fiber scale approach to detect small longitudinal alterations.
Fanny Munsch, Sharmila Sagnier, Julien Asselineau, Antoine Bigourdan, Charles R Guttmann, Sabrina Debruxelles, Mathilde Poli, Pauline Renou, Paul Perez, Vincent Dousset, Igor Sibon, and Thomas Tourdias. 2016. “Stroke Location Is an Independent Predictor of Cognitive Outcome.” Stroke, 47, 1, Pp. 66-73.Abstract
BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: On top of functional outcome, accurate prediction of cognitive outcome for stroke patients is an unmet need with major implications for clinical management. We investigated whether stroke location may contribute independent prognostic value to multifactorial predictive models of functional and cognitive outcomes. METHODS: Four hundred twenty-eight consecutive patients with ischemic stroke were prospectively assessed with magnetic resonance imaging at 24 to 72 hours and at 3 months for functional outcome using the modified Rankin Scale and cognitive outcome using the Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA). Statistical maps of functional and cognitive eloquent regions were derived from the first 215 patients (development sample) using voxel-based lesion-symptom mapping. We used multivariate logistic regression models to study the influence of stroke location (number of eloquent voxels from voxel-based lesion-symptom mapping maps), age, initial National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale and stroke volume on modified Rankin Scale and MoCA. The second part of our cohort was used as an independent replication sample. RESULTS: In univariate analyses, stroke location, age, initial National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale, and stroke volume were all predictive of poor modified Rankin Scale and MoCA. In multivariable analyses, stroke location remained the strongest independent predictor of MoCA and significantly improved the prediction compared with using only age, initial National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale, and stroke volume (area under the curve increased from 0.697-0.771; difference=0.073; 95% confidence interval, 0.008-0.155). In contrast, stroke location did not persist as independent predictor of modified Rankin Scale that was mainly driven by initial National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale (area under the curve going from 0.840 to 0.835). Similar results were obtained in the replication sample. CONCLUSIONS: Stroke location is an independent predictor of cognitive outcome (MoCA) at 3 months post stroke.
2015
Michele Cavallari, Tammy T Hshieh, Charles RG Guttmann, Long H Ngo, Dominik S Meier, Eva M Schmitt, Edward R Marcantonio, Richard N Jones, Cyrus M Kosar, Tamara G Fong, Daniel Press, Sharon K Inouye, and David C Alsop. 2015. “Brain atrophy and white-matter hyperintensities are not significantly associated with incidence and severity of postoperative delirium in older persons without dementia.” Neurobiol Aging, 36, 6, Pp. 2122-9.Abstract
Postoperative delirium is a common complication in older people and is associated with increased mortality, morbidity, institutionalization, and caregiver burden. Although delirium is an acute confusional state characterized by global impairments in attention and cognition, it has been implicated in permanent cognitive impairment and dementia. The pathogenesis of delirium and the mechanisms leading to these disabling consequences remain unclear. The present study is the first to address the potential predisposing role of brain morphologic changes toward postoperative delirium in a large prospective cohort of patients undergoing elective surgery using state-of-the-art magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) techniques conducted before admission. We investigated the association of MRI-derived quantitative measures of white-matter damage, global brain, and hippocampal volume with the incidence and severity of delirium. Presurgical white-matter hyperintensities (WMHs), whole brain, and hippocampal volume were measured in 146 consecutively enrolled subjects, ≥70 years old, without dementia who were undergoing elective surgery. These 3 presurgical MRI indices were tested as predictors of incidence and severity of subsequent delirium. Out of 146 subjects, 32 (22%) developed delirium. We found no statistically significant differences in WMH, whole brain, or hippocampal volume between subjects with and without delirium. Both unadjusted and adjusted (age, gender, vascular comorbidity, and general cognitive performance) regression analyses demonstrated no statistically significant association between any of the MRI measures with respect to delirium incidence or severity. In persons without dementia, preexisting cerebral WMHs, general and hippocampal atrophy may not predispose to postoperative delirium or worsen its severity.
Alicia S Chua, Svetlana Egorova, Mark C Anderson, Mariann Polgar-Turcsanyi, Tanuja Chitnis, Howard L Weiner, Charles RG Guttmann, Rohit Bakshi, and Brian C Healy. 2015. “Handling changes in MRI acquisition parameters in modeling whole brain lesion volume and atrophy data in multiple sclerosis subjects: Comparison of linear mixed-effect models.” Neuroimage Clin, 8, Pp. 606-10.Abstract
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the brain provides important outcome measures in the longitudinal evaluation of disease activity and progression in MS subjects. Two common measures derived from brain MRI scans are the brain parenchymal fraction (BPF) and T2 hyperintense lesion volume (T2LV), and these measures are routinely assessed longitudinally in clinical trials and observational studies. When measuring each outcome longitudinally, observed changes may be potentially confounded by variability in MRI acquisition parameters between scans. In order to accurately model longitudinal change, the acquisition parameters should thus be considered in statistical models. In this paper, several models for including protocol as well as individual MRI acquisition parameters in linear mixed models were compared using a large dataset of 3453 longitudinal MRI scans from 1341 subjects enrolled in the CLIMB study, and model fit indices were compared across the models. The model that best explained the variance in BPF data was a random intercept and random slope with protocol specific residual variance along with the following fixed-effects: baseline age, baseline disease duration, protocol and study time. The model that best explained the variance in T2LV was a random intercept and random slope along with the following fixed-effects: baseline age, baseline disease duration, protocol and study time. In light of these findings, future studies pertaining to BPF and T2LV outcomes should carefully account for the protocol factors within longitudinal models to ensure that the disease trajectory of MS subjects can be assessed more accurately.
Michele Cavallari, Claudio Stamile, Renato Umeton, Francesco Calimeri, and Francesco Orzi. 2015. “Novel Method for Automated Analysis of Retinal Images: Results in Subjects with Hypertensive Retinopathy and CADASIL.” Biomed Res Int, 2015, Pp. 752957.Abstract
Morphological analysis of the retinal vessels by fundoscopy provides noninvasive means for detecting and staging systemic microvascular damage. However, full exploitation of fundoscopy in clinical settings is limited by paucity of quantitative, objective information obtainable through the observer-driven evaluations currently employed in routine practice. Here, we report on the development of a semiautomated, computer-based method to assess retinal vessel morphology. The method allows simultaneous and operator-independent quantitative assessment of arteriole-to-venule ratio, tortuosity index, and mean fractal dimension. The method was implemented in two conditions known for being associated with retinal vessel changes: hypertensive retinopathy and Cerebral Autosomal Dominant Arteriopathy with Subcortical Infarcts and Leukoencephalopathy (CADASIL). The results showed that our approach is effective in detecting and quantifying the retinal vessel abnormalities. Arteriole-to-venule ratio, tortuosity index, and mean fractal dimension were altered in the subjects with hypertensive retinopathy or CADASIL with respect to age- and gender-matched controls. The interrater reliability was excellent for all the three indices (intraclass correlation coefficient ≥ 85%). The method represents simple and highly reproducible means for discriminating pathological conditions characterized by morphological changes of retinal vessels. The advantages of our method include simultaneous and operator-independent assessment of different parameters and improved reliability of the measurements.
Alicia S Chua, Svetlana Egorova, Mark C Anderson, Mariann Polgar-Turcsanyi, Tanuja Chitnis, Howard L Weiner, Charles RG Guttmann, Rohit Bakshi, and Brian C Healy. 2015. “Using multiple imputation to efficiently correct cerebral MRI whole brain lesion and atrophy data in patients with multiple sclerosis.” Neuroimage, 119, Pp. 81-8.Abstract
Automated segmentation of brain MRI scans into tissue classes is commonly used for the assessment of multiple sclerosis (MS). However, manual correction of the resulting brain tissue label maps by an expert reader remains necessary in many cases. Since automated segmentation data awaiting manual correction are "missing", we proposed to use multiple imputation (MI) to fill-in the missing manually-corrected MRI data for measures of normalized whole brain volume (brain parenchymal fraction-BPF) and T2 hyperintense lesion volume (T2LV). Automated and manually corrected MRI measures from 1300 patients enrolled in the Comprehensive Longitudinal Investigation of Multiple Sclerosis at the Brigham and Women's Hospital (CLIMB) were identified. Simulation studies were conducted to assess the performance of MI with missing data both missing completely at random and missing at random. An imputation model including the concurrent automated data as well as clinical and demographic variables explained a high proportion of the variance in the manually corrected BPF (R(2)=0.97) and T2LV (R(2)=0.89), demonstrating the potential to accurately impute the missing data. Further, our results demonstrate that MI allows for the accurate estimation of group differences with little to no bias and with similar precision compared to an analysis with no missing data. We believe that our findings provide important insights for efficient correction of automated MRI measures to obviate the need to perform manual correction on all cases.
Salem Hannoun, Jean-Amédée Roch, Francoise Durand-Dubief, Sandra Vukusic, Dominique Sappey-Marinier, Charles RG Guttmann, and Francois Cotton. 2015. “Weekly multimodal MRI follow-up of two multiple sclerosis active lesions presenting a transient decrease in ADC.” Brain Behav, 5, 2, Pp. e00307.Abstract
BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Blood-brain barrier disruption during the earliest phases of lesion formation in multiple sclerosis (MS) patients is commonly ascribed to perivenular inflammatory activity and is usually accompanied by increased diffusivity. Reduced diffusivity has also been shown in active lesions, albeit less frequently. This study aimed to characterize the development and natural history of contrast-enhanced lesions by weekly following five relapsing remitting (RR) MS patients. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), perfusion imaging, FLAIR and contrast-enhanced 3D T1-weighted MR, were weekly performed on five untreated patients recently diagnosed with RR MS. RESULTS: All five patients showed significant increases of the apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) in the lesions compared to the first time point. One of the five patients presented 98 active lesions on ADC maps among which 36 had a volume larger than 10 mm(3). In two of these lesions, a 1 week transient decrease in ADC was detected at the time of the first gadolinium enhancement. Also, the perfusion analysis showed a concomitant increase in the relative cerebral blood volume. CONCLUSIONS: The infrequency detection of such ADC decrease in a new lesion is probably due to its very short duration. This observation may be consistent with a hyper-acute inflammatory stage concomitant with an increased reactional perfusion.
Francesco Fazio, Luana Lionetto, Martina Curto, Luisa Iacovelli, Michele Cavallari, Cristina Zappulla, Martina Ulivieri, Flavia Napoletano, Matilde Capi, Valentina Corigliano, Sergio Scaccianoce, Alessandra Caruso, Jessica Miele, Antonio De Fusco, Luisa Di Menna, Anna Comparelli, Antonella De Carolis, Roberto Gradini, Robert Nisticò, Antonio De Blasi, Paolo Girardi, Valeria Bruno, Giuseppe Battaglia, Ferdinando Nicoletti, and Maurizio Simmaco. 2015. “Xanthurenic Acid Activates mGlu2/3 Metabotropic Glutamate Receptors and is a Potential Trait Marker for Schizophrenia.” Sci Rep, 5, Pp. 17799.Abstract
The kynurenine pathway of tryptophan metabolism has been implicated in the pathophysiology of psychiatric disorders, including schizophrenia. We report here that the kynurenine metabolite, xanturenic acid (XA), interacts with, and activates mGlu2 and mGlu3 metabotropic glutamate receptors in heterologous expression systems. However, the molecular nature of this interaction is unknown, and our data cannot exclude that XA acts primarily on other targets, such as the vesicular glutamate transporter, in the CNS. Systemic administration of XA in mice produced antipsychotic-like effects in the MK-801-induced model of hyperactivity. This effect required the presence of mGlu2 receptors and was abrogated by the preferential mGlu2/3 receptor antagonist, LY341495. Because the mGlu2 receptor is a potential drug target in the treatment of schizophrenia, we decided to measure serum levels of XA and other kynurenine metabolites in patients affected by schizophrenia. Serum XA levels were largely reduced in a large cohort of patients affected by schizophrenia, and, in patients with first-episode schizophrenia, levels remained low after 12 months of antipsychotic medication. As opposed to other kynurenine metabolites, XA levels were also significantly reduced in first-degree relatives of patients affected by schizophrenia. We suggest that lowered serum XA levels might represent a novel trait marker for schizophrenia.
2014
Rohit Bakshi, Mohit Neema, Shahamat Tauhid, Brian C Healy, Bonnie I Glanz, Gloria Kim, Jennifer Miller, Julia L Berkowitz, Riley Bove, Maria K Houtchens, Christopher Severson, James M Stankiewicz, Lynn Stazzone, Tanuja Chitnis, Charles RG Guttmann, Howard L Weiner, and Antonia Ceccarelli. 2014. “An expanded composite scale of MRI-defined disease severity in multiple sclerosis: MRDSS2.” Neuroreport, 25, 14, Pp. 1156-61.Abstract
The objective of this study was to test a new version of the Magnetic Resonance Disease Severity Scale (MRDSS2), incorporating cerebral gray matter (GM) and spinal cord involvement from 3 T MRI, in modeling the relationship between MRI and physical disability or cognitive status in multiple sclerosis (MS). Fifty-five MS patients and 30 normal controls underwent high-resolution 3 T MRI. The patients had an Expanded Disability Status Scale score of 1.6±1.7 (mean±SD). The cerebral normalized GM fraction (GMF), the T2 lesion volume (T2LV), and the ratio of T1 hypointense LV to T2LV (T1/T2) were derived from brain images. Upper cervical spinal cord area (UCCA) was obtained from spinal cord images. A within-subject d-score (difference of MS from normal control) for each MRI component was calculated, equally weighted, and summed to form MRDSS2. With regard to the relationship between physical disability and MRDSS2 or its individual components, MRI-Expanded Disability Status Scale correlations were significant for MRDSS2 (r=0.33, P=0.013) and UCCA (r=-0.33, P=0.015), but not for GMF (P=0.198), T2LV (P=0.707), and T1/T2 (P=0.240). The inclusion of UCCA appeared to drive this MRI-disability relationship in MRDSS2. With regard to cognition, MRDSS2 showed a larger effect size (P=0.035) than its individual components [GMF (P=0.081), T2LV (P=0. 179), T1/T2 (P=0.043), and UCCA (P=0.818)] in comparing cognitively impaired with cognitively preserved patients (defined by the Minimal Assessment of Cognitive Function in MS). Both cerebral lesions (T1/T2) and atrophy (GMF) appeared to drive this relationship. We describe a new version of the MRDSS, which has been expanded to include cerebral GM and spinal cord involvement. MRDSS2 has concurrent validity with clinical status.
Sushmita Purkayastha, Otite Fadar, Aujan Mehregan, David H Salat, Nicola Moscufo, Dominik S Meier, Charles RG Guttmann, Naomi Dl Fisher, Lewis A Lipsitz, and Farzaneh A Sorond. 2014. “Impaired cerebrovascular hemodynamics are associated with cerebral white matter damage.” J Cereb Blood Flow Metab, 34, 2, Pp. 228-34.Abstract
White matter hyperintensities (WMH) in elderly individuals with vascular diseases are presumed to be due to ischemic small vessel diseases; however, their etiology is unknown. We examined the cross-sectional relationship between cerebrovascular hemodynamics and white matter structural integrity in elderly individuals with vascular risk factors. White matter hyperintensity volumes, fractional anisotropy (FA), and mean diffusivity (MD) were obtained from MRI in 48 subjects (75±7years). Pulsatility index (PI) and dynamic cerebral autoregulation (dCA) was assessed using transcranial Doppler ultrasound of the middle cerebral artery. Dynamic cerebral autoregulation was calculated from transfer function analysis (phase and gain) of spontaneous blood pressure and flow velocity oscillations in the low (LF, 0.03 to 0.15 Hz) and high (HF, 0.16 to 0.5 Hz) frequency ranges. Higher PI was associated with greater WMH (P<0.005). Higher phase across all frequency ranges was associated with greater FA and lower MD (P<0.005). Lower gain was associated with higher FA in the LF range (P=0.001). These relationships between phase and FA were significant in the territories limited to the middle cerebral artery as well as across the entire brain. Our results show a strong relationship between impaired cerebrovascular hemodynamics (PI and dCA) and loss of cerebral white matter structural integrity (WMH and DTI metrics) in elderly individuals.
Michele Cavallari, Antonia Ceccarelli, Guang-Yi Wang, Nicola Moscufo, Salem Hannoun, Christina R Matulis, Jonathan S Jackson, Bonnie I Glanz, Rohit Bakshi, Mohit Neema, and Charles RG Guttmann. 2014. “Microstructural changes in the striatum and their impact on motor and neuropsychological performance in patients with multiple sclerosis.” PLoS One, 9, 7, Pp. e101199.Abstract
Grey matter (GM) damage is a clinically relevant feature of multiple sclerosis (MS) that has been previously assessed with diffusion tensor imaging (DTI). Fractional anisotropy (FA) of the basal ganglia and thalamus might be increased in MS patients, and correlates with disability scores. Despite the established role of the striatum and thalamus in motor control, mood and cognition, the impact of DTI changes within these structures on motor and neuropsychological performance has not yet been specifically addressed in MS. We investigated DTI metrics of deep GM nuclei and their potential association with mobility and neuropsychological function. DTI metrics from 3T MRI were assessed in the caudate, putamen, and thalamus of 30 MS patients and 10 controls. Sixteen of the patients underwent neuropsychological testing. FA of the caudate and putamen was higher in MS patients compared to controls. Caudate FA correlated with Expanded Disability Status Scale score, Ambulation Index, and severity of depressive symptomatology. Putamen and thalamus FA correlated with deficits in memory tests. In contrast, cerebral white matter (WM) lesion burden showed no significant correlation with any of the disability, mobility and psychometric parameters. Our findings support evidence of FA changes in the basal ganglia in MS patients, as well as deep GM involvement in disabling features of MS, including mobility and cognitive impairment. Deep GM FA appears to be a more sensitive correlate of disability than WM lesion burden.
Kathryn V Papp, Richard F Kaplan, Beth Springate, Nicola Moscufo, Dorothy B Wakefield, Charles RG Guttmann, and Leslie Wolfson. 2014. “Processing speed in normal aging: effects of white matter hyperintensities and hippocampal volume loss.” Neuropsychol Dev Cogn B Aging Neuropsychol Cogn, 21, 2, Pp. 197-213.Abstract
Changes in cognitive functioning are said to be part of normal aging. Quantitative MRI has made it possible to measure structural brain changes during aging which may underlie these decrements which include slowed information processing and memory loss. Much has been written on white matter hyperintensities (WMH), which are associated with cognitive deficits on tasks requiring processing speed and executive functioning, and hippocampal volume loss, which is associated with memory decline. Here we examine volumetric MRI measures of WMH and hippocampal volume loss together in relation to neuropsychological tests considered to be measures of executive functioning and processing speed in 81 non-demented elderly individuals, aged 75-90. Correlational analysis showed that when controlling for age, both greater WMH volume and smaller hippocampal volume were correlated with slower performances on most tests with the exception of a battery of continuous performance tests in which only WMH was correlated with slower reaction time (RT). We then performed a series of hierarchical multiple regression analyses to examine the independent contributions of greater WMH volume and reduced hippocampal volume to executive functioning and processing speed. The results showed that for the four measures requiring executive functioning and speed of processing, WMH volume and hippocampal volume combined predicted between 21.4% and 37% of the explained variance. These results suggest that WM integrity and hippocampal volume influence cognitive decline independently on tasks involving processing speed and executive function independent of age.
Michele Cavallari, Nicola Moscufo, Dominik Meier, Pawel Skudlarski, Godfrey D Pearlson, William B White, Leslie Wolfson, and Charles RG Guttmann. 2014. “Thalamic fractional anisotropy predicts accrual of cerebral white matter damage in older subjects with small-vessel disease.” J Cereb Blood Flow Metab, 34, 8, Pp. 1321-7.Abstract
White matter hyperintensities (WMHs) and lacunes are magnetic resonance imaging hallmarks of cerebral small-vessel disease, which increase the risk of stroke, cognitive, and mobility impairment. Although most studies of cerebral small-vessel disease have focused on white matter abnormalities, the gray matter (GM) is also affected, as evidenced by frequently observed lacunes in subcortical GM. Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) is sensitive to subtle neurodegenerative changes in deep GM structures. We explored the relationship between baseline DTI characteristics of the thalamus, caudate, and putamen, and the volume and subsequent accrual of WMHs over a 4-year period in 56 community-dwelling older (⩾75 years) individuals. Baseline thalamic fractional anisotropy (FA) was an independent predictor of WMH accrual. WMH accrual also correlated with baseline lacune count and baseline WMH volume, the latter showing the strongest predictive power, explaining 27.3% of the variance. The addition of baseline thalamic FA in multivariate modeling increased this value by 70%, which explains 46.5% of the variance in WMH accrual rate. Thalamic FA might serve as a novel predictor of cerebral small-vessel disease progression in clinical settings and trials. Furthermore, our findings point to the possibility of a causal relationship between thalamic damage and the accrual of WMHs.
Chiara Zecca, Gianna C Riccitelli, Pasquale Calabrese, Emanuele Pravatà, Ursula Candrian, Charles RG Guttmann, and Claudio Gobbi. 2014. “Treatment satisfaction, adherence and behavioral assessment in patients de-escalating from natalizumab to interferon β.” BMC Neurol, 14, Pp. 38.Abstract
BACKGROUND: De-escalating natalizumab (NTZ) to interferon beta 1b (IFN B 1B) is a possible treatment option in multiple sclerosis (MS) patients interrupting NTZ because of increased risk of progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML). The aim of this study was to evaluate satisfaction and adherence to treatment, behavioral and fatigue changes in patients switched to IFN B 1B compared to continued NTZ treatment. METHODS: A 1 year, prospective, randomized, rater-blinded, parallel-group study. Nineteen relapsing remitting (RR) MS patients, randomly assigned to undergo either NTZ (n = 10) or IFN B 1B (n = 9) treatment, who had previously received NTZ for at least 12 months with disease stability and fearing or at risk for PML were included. Patients underwent behavioral and treatment assessments at baseline, after 24-week and 1 year follow-up. Behavioral assessment included measures of cognition, fatigue and quality of life. Treatment assessment included measures of satisfaction, persistence and adherence to treatment. Clinical-radiological disease activity and safety were also assessed. RESULTS: Baseline characteristics of patients were similar between groups except for Euro Quality Visual Analogue Scale, being higher in the NTZ group (p = 0.04). Within-group comparisons at the three time points, as well as interaction analysis of treatment effect over time did not show any statistically significant differences in behavioral or treatment assessments, but a coherent trend favoring NTZ over IFN B 1B. CONCLUSIONS: De-escalating NTZ to IFN B 1B is feasible and associated with overall good patient related outcome and persistently stable behavioral measures.
Karl Egger, Christian Clemm von Hohenberg, Michael F Schocke, Charles RG Guttmann, Demian Wassermann, Marlene C Wigand, Wolfgang Nachbauer, Christian Kremser, Brigitte Sturm, Barbara Scheiber-Mojdehkar, Marek Kubicki, Martha E Shenton, and Sylvia Boesch. 2014. “White matter changes in patients with friedreich ataxia after treatment with erythropoietin.” J Neuroimaging, 24, 5, Pp. 504-8.Abstract
BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Erythropoietin (EPO) has received growing attention because of its neuroregenerative properties. Preclinical and clinical evidence supports its therapeutic potential in brain conditions like stroke, multiple sclerosis, and schizophrenia. Also, in Friedreich ataxia, clinical improvement after EPO therapy was shown. The aim of this study was to assess possible therapy-associated brain white matter changes in these patients. METHODS: Nine patients with Friedreich ataxia underwent Diffusion Tensor Imaging (DTI) before and after EPO treatment. Tract-based spatial statistics was used for longitudinal comparison. RESULTS: We detected widespread longitudinal increase in fractional anisotropy and axial diffusivity (D||) in cerebral hemispheres bilaterally (P < .05, corrected), while no changes were observed within the cerebellum, medulla oblongata, and pons. CONCLUSIONS: To the best of our knowledge, this is the first DTI study to investigate the effects of EPO in a neurodegenerative disease. Anatomically, the diffusivity changes appear disease unspecific, and their biological underpinnings deserve further study.
2013
Linda Ottoboni, Irene Y Frohlich, Michelle Lee, Brian C Healy, Brendan T Keenan, Zongqi Xia, Tanuja Chitnis, Charles R Guttmann, Samia J Khoury, Howard L Weiner, David A Hafler, and Philip L De Jager. 2013. “Clinical relevance and functional consequences of the TNFRSF1A multiple sclerosis locus.” Neurology, 81, 22, Pp. 1891-9.Abstract
OBJECTIVE: We set out to characterize the clinical impact and functional consequences of rs1800693(G), the multiple sclerosis (MS) susceptibility allele found in the TNFRSF1A locus. METHODS: We analyzed prospectively collected data on patients with MS to assess the role of the TNFRSF1A locus on disease course and treatment response. Using archival serum samples and freshly isolated monocytes from patients with MS and healthy subjects, we evaluated the effects of rs1800693(G) and a second risk allele, R92Q, on immune function. RESULTS: In 772 patients with MS, we see no evidence that rs1800693(G) strongly influences clinical or radiographic indices of disease course and treatment response; thus, rs1800693(G) appears to be primarily involved in the onset of MS. At the molecular level, this validated susceptibility allele generates an RNA isoform, TNFRSF1A Δ6, that lacks the transmembrane and cytoplasmic domains. While there was no measurable effect on serum levels of soluble TNFRSF1A, rs1800693(G) appears to alter the state of monocytes, which demonstrate a more robust transcriptional response of CXCL10 and other genes in response to tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α. We also report that activation of the TNF-α pathway results in altered expression of 6 other MS susceptibility genes, including T-cell activation rho GTPase activating protein (TAGAP) and regulator of G-protein signaling 1 (RGS1), which are not previously known to be responsive to TNF-α. CONCLUSIONS: The MS rs1800693(G) susceptibility allele affects the magnitude of monocyte responses to TNF-α stimulation, and the TNF pathway may be one network in which the effect of multiple MS genes becomes integrated.
Andrea Mike, Erzsebet Strammer, Mihaly Aradi, Gergely Orsi, Gabor Perlaki, Andras Hajnal, Janos Sandor, Miklos Banati, Eniko Illes, Alexander Zaitsev, Robert Herold, Charles RG Guttmann, and Zsolt Illes. 2013. “Disconnection mechanism and regional cortical atrophy contribute to impaired processing of facial expressions and theory of mind in multiple sclerosis: a structural MRI study.” PLoS One, 8, 12, Pp. e82422.Abstract
Successful socialization requires the ability of understanding of others' mental states. This ability called as mentalization (Theory of Mind) may become deficient and contribute to everyday life difficulties in multiple sclerosis. We aimed to explore the impact of brain pathology on mentalization performance in multiple sclerosis. Mentalization performance of 49 patients with multiple sclerosis was compared to 24 age- and gender matched healthy controls. T1- and T2-weighted three-dimensional brain MRI images were acquired at 3Tesla from patients with multiple sclerosis and 18 gender- and age matched healthy controls. We assessed overall brain cortical thickness in patients with multiple sclerosis and the scanned healthy controls, and measured the total and regional T1 and T2 white matter lesion volumes in patients with multiple sclerosis. Performances in tests of recognition of mental states and emotions from facial expressions and eye gazes correlated with both total T1-lesion load and regional T1-lesion load of association fiber tracts interconnecting cortical regions related to visual and emotion processing (genu and splenium of corpus callosum, right inferior longitudinal fasciculus, right inferior fronto-occipital fasciculus, uncinate fasciculus). Both of these tests showed correlations with specific cortical areas involved in emotion recognition from facial expressions (right and left fusiform face area, frontal eye filed), processing of emotions (right entorhinal cortex) and socially relevant information (left temporal pole). Thus, both disconnection mechanism due to white matter lesions and cortical thinning of specific brain areas may result in cognitive deficit in multiple sclerosis affecting emotion and mental state processing from facial expressions and contributing to everyday and social life difficulties of these patients.

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