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Open Access Highly Accessed Review

Clinical correlates of grey matter pathology in multiple sclerosis

Dana Horakova*, Tomas Kalincik, Jana Blahova Dusankova and Ondrej Dolezal

Author Affiliations

Department of Neurology and Center of Clinical Neuroscience, Charles University in Prague, 1st Faculty of Medicine and General University Hospital, Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic

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BMC Neurology 2012, 12:10  doi:10.1186/1471-2377-12-10

Published: 7 March 2012

Abstract

Traditionally, multiple sclerosis has been viewed as a disease predominantly affecting white matter. However, this view has lately been subject to numerous changes, as new evidence of anatomical and histological changes as well as of molecular targets within the grey matter has arisen. This advance was driven mainly by novel imaging techniques, however, these have not yet been implemented in routine clinical practice. The changes in the grey matter are related to physical and cognitive disability seen in individuals with multiple sclerosis. Furthermore, damage to several grey matter structures can be associated with impairment of specific functions. Therefore, we conclude that grey matter damage - global and regional - has the potential to become a marker of disease activity, complementary to the currently used magnetic resonance markers (global brain atrophy and T2 hyperintense lesions). Furthermore, it may improve the prediction of the future disease course and response to therapy in individual patients and may also become a reliable additional surrogate marker of treatment effect.