Author Of 2 Presentations
P0611 - Neurite density explains cortical T1-/T2-weighted ratio in multiple sclerosis (ID 1090)
Cortical damage is clinically relevant in multiple sclerosis (MS), however reliable MRI markers for its monitoring are still an unmet need. Ratio of T1-weighted (T1w) and T2-weighted (T2w) sequences (i.e., T1w/T2w-ratio) has been suggested as a feasible MRI measure to assess cortical abnormalities in patients with MS (PwMS), but its histopathological substrate has yet to be definitively elucidated.
To define the histopathological substrate of T1w/T2w-ratio in normal-appearing and demyelinated cortices of PwMS by performing a combined post-mortem MRI/histopathology study.
Fifteen PwMS and ten age- and sex-matched non-neurological controls (nNC) underwent post-mortem in situ 3T MRI with 3D T1w and T2w sequences, followed by brain dissection.
One hundred and five paraffin embedded tissue blocks (49 from PwMS, 56 from nNC) were collected. Tissue regions were matched to T1w/T2w-ratio maps to obtain regional cortical T1w/T2w-ratio. Using immunohistochemistry and silver staining, cortical density of myelin, microglia, neurons, glial cells and neurites were evaluated. Correlates of T1w/T2w-ratio alterations with histological markers were assessed through linear mixed-effects models.
Twenty-six cortical lesions (85% subpial) were found in 24/49 (51%) cortical regions from PwMS. Compared to nNC’s cortex, both PwMS’ normal-appearing and demyelinated cortices had a significantly lower T1w/T2w-ratio (p=0.045 and 0.001). In PwMS, demyelinated cortex showed a significant lower T1w/T2w-ratio compared to normal-appearing cortex (p=0.007). In PwMS, neurite density was significantly lower in both normal-appearing and demyelinated cortices compared to nNC (p=0.041 and 0.001), and in demyelinated vs. normal-appearing cortex (p=0.048). Demyelinated cortex showed also significant lower myelin density compared to normal-appearing cortex in both nNC and PwMS (p<0.001). Regarding the pathological substrate, T1w/T2w-ratio was positively associated with neurite density (β=3.464×10-2, p=0.004), whereas only a trend for myelin density was found (p=0.082).
Both demyelination and neurite loss were found in the cortex of PwMS. By evaluating several histopathological markers in nNC and PwMS (in normal-appearing and demyelinated cortices), T1w/T2w-ratio was found to be sensitive to MS cortical damage and more specific to neurite than myelin density. T1w/T2w-ratio could be useful to investigate cortical damage in MS.
P0961 - Excitation-inhibition balance in multiple sclerosis: a quantification of glutamatergic and GABA-ergic synapse loss (ID 903)
Synaptic loss is a key feature of the secondary progressive phase of multiple sclerosis (MS) and is related to clinical and cognitive functioning. However, whether the excitatory or inhibitory synapses are more susceptible to MS pathology is insufficiently clarified to date.
To quantify GABAergic and glutamatergic synaptic densities in a sample of post-mortem MS brains and, hence, to investigate whether there is reason to suspect an imbalance in excitatory versus inhibitory neurotransmission.
Brains of 33 neuro-pathologically verified MS cases (21 women, mean age=63±12y) and 9 non-neurological controls (NC, 5 women, mean age=72±6y) were dissected shortly after death (mean post-mortem delay in MS: 5:37±1:29h; in NC: 9:19±2:85h). Sections of the superior frontal cortices were stained for myelin, parvalbumin- and calretinin-expressing interneurons and glutamatergic and GABAergic synapses. Subsequently, synaptic densities were quantified through confocal microscopy in sections of pre-determined regions of interest (ROIs) and image analyses. Data were analyzed using linear mixed-effects models.
Of the 71 defined ROIs in MS tissue, 24% were demyelinated, the remaining were normal-appearing grey matter (NAGM). No differences in densities of calretinin- and parvalbumin-expressing interneurons were observed between groups. For both excitatory and inhibitory synapse densities, there was a significant interaction between tissue type (NC NAGM, MS NAGM and MS demyelinated cortex) and cortical layer (P=.003; P=.001, respectively). Post-hoc testing revealed that the densities of both synapse types were reduced in cortical layer 6 (excitatory: P=.004; inhibitory: P=.002). NAGM in MS cortical layer 6 showed reductions of 12.5% (excitatory) and 14.9% (inhibitory) synaptic density as compared to NC values (P<.05). In demyelinated MS cortex a loss of 18.5% in excitatory synapses and 29.3% in inhibitory synapses was noted respective to NC values (P<.05).
In post-mortem MS tissue, we found a significant loss of excitatory and inhibitory synapses in layer 6 of superior frontal cortex. Interestingly, in NAGM the proportion of synaptic loss was similar for both synapse types, while in demyelinated cortex inhibitory synapses were affected more. The differential effects of fairly subtle differences in excitatory versus inhibitory synapse loss on functional measures may nonetheless have a substantial effect on cellular and network functioning. This effect is now being investigated in a corticothalamic mean-field model (results pending).