Functional connectivity changes within specific networks parallel the clinical evolution of multiple sclerosis

B. Basile, M. Castelli, F. Monteleone, U. Nocentini, C. Caltagirone, D. Centonze, M. Cercignani, M. Bozzali

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: In multiple sclerosis (MS), the location of focal lesions does not always correlate with clinical symptoms,suggesting disconnection as a major pathophysiological mechanism. Resting-state (RS) functional magnetic resonanceimaging (fMRI) is believed to reflect brain functional connectivity (FC) within specific neuronal networks.Objective: RS-fMRI was used to investigate changes in FC within two critical networks for the understanding of MSdisabilities, namely, the sensory-motor network (SMN) and the default-mode network (DMN), respectively, implicatedin sensory-motor and cognitive functions.Methods: Thirty-four relapsing-remitting (RR), 14 secondary progressive (SP) MS patients and 25 healthy controlsunderwent MRI at 3T, including conventional images, T1-weighted volumes, and RS-fMRI sequences. Independent componentanalysis (ICA) was employed to extract maps of the relevant RS networks for every participant. Group analyseswere performed to assess changes in FC within the SMN and DMN in the two MS phenotypes.Results: Increased FC was found in both networks of MS patients. Interestingly, specific changes in either direction wereobserved also between RR and SP MS groups.Conclusions: FC changes seem to parallel patients clinical state and capability of compensating for the severity of clinical/cognitive disabilities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1050-1057
Number of pages8
JournalMultiple Sclerosis Journal
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • functional connectivity
  • Relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis
  • resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging
  • secondary progressive multiple sclerosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neurology


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