Dogonowski, Anne-Marie2; Siebner, Hartwig Roman2; Soelberg Sørensen, P.2; Paulson, Olaf B.2; Dyrby, T. B.2; Blinkenberg, Morten2; Madsen, Kristoffer Hougaard1
1 Department of Applied Mathematics and Computer Science, Technical University of Denmark2 Copenhagen University Hospital
Objective To characterize the relationship between motor resting-state connectivity of the dorsal pre-motor cortex (PMd) and clinical disability in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS). Materials and methods A total of 27 patients with relapsing–remitting MS (RR-MS) and 15 patients with secondary progressive MS (SP-MS) underwent functional resting-state magnetic resonance imaging. Clinical disability was assessed using the Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS). Independent component analysis was used to characterize motor resting-state connectivity. Multiple regression analysis was performed in SPM8 between the individual expression of motor resting-state connectivity in PMd and EDSS scores including age as covariate. Separate post hoc analyses were performed for patients with RR-MS and SP-MS. Results The EDSS scores ranged from 0 to 7 with a median score of 4.3. Motor resting-state connectivity of left PMd showed a positive linear relation with clinical disability in patients with MS. This effect was stronger when considering the group of patients with RR-MS alone, whereas patients with SP-MS showed no increase in coupling strength between left PMd and the motor resting-state network with increasing clinical disability. No significant relation between motor resting-state connectivity of the right PMd and clinical disability was detected in MS. Conclusions The increase in functional coupling between left PMd and the motor resting-state network with increasing clinical disability can be interpreted as adaptive reorganization of the motor system to maintain motor function, which appears to be limited to the relapsing–remitting stage of the disease.