Multiple Sclerosis 15 June 2004, vol. 10, no. Supplement 1, pp. 36-45(10)
Filippi M.; Rovaris M.; Rocca M.A.
Neuroimaging Research Unit, Department of Neurology, Scientific Institute and University Ospedale San Raffaele, Milan, Italy
Patients with primary progressive multiple sclerosis (PPMS) typically experience a progressive disease course from onset, leading to the accumulation of severe neurological disability.
This is in contrast with the observation that the burden and activity of lesions on conventional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans of the brain are much lower in patients with PPMS than in those with other less disabling forms of the disease.
Studies with structural and functional MRI techniques are providing relevant contributions to the understanding of the mechanisms underlying the accumulation of irreversible neurological deficits in patients with PPMS.
The results of these studies underpin that the main factors possibly explaining the clinical/MRI discrepancy observed in patients with PPMS include the presence of a diffuse tissue damage that is beyond the resolution of conventional imaging, the extent of cervical cord damage, and the impairment of the adaptive capacity of the cortex to limit the functional consequences of subcortical pathology.