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Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic inflammatory disease of the central nervous system. MS lesions show a typical distribution pattern and primarily affect the white matter (WM) in the periventricular zone and in the centrum semiovale.To track lesion development during disease progression, we compared the spatiotemporal distribution patterns of lesions in relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS) and secondary progressive MS (SPMS).We used T1 and T2 weighted MR images of 209 RRMS and 62 SPMS patients acquired on two different 1.5 Tesla MR scanners in two clinical centers followed up for 25 (± 1.7) months. Both cross-sectional and longitudinal differences in lesion distribution between RRMS and SPMS patients were analyzed with lesion probability maps (LPMs) and permutation-based inference.MS lesions clustered around the lateral ventricles and in the centrum semiovale. Cross-sectionally, compared to RRMS patients, the SPMS patients showed a significantly higher regional probability of T1 hypointense lesions (p ≤ 0.03) in the callosal body, the corticospinal tract, and other tracts adjacent to the lateral ventricles, but not of T2 lesions (peak probabilities were RRMS: T1 9%, T2 18%; SPMS: T1 21%, T2 27%). No longitudinal changes of regional T1 and T2 lesion volumes between baseline and follow-up scan were found.The results suggest a particular vulnerability to neurodegeneration during disease progression in a number of WM tracts.

Original publication




Journal article


Multiple sclerosis (Houndmills, Basingstoke, England)

Publication Date





1577 - 1584


Medical Image Analysis Center, University Hospital Basel, Basel, Switzerland.


Brain, Humans, Multiple Sclerosis, Chronic Progressive, Multiple Sclerosis, Relapsing-Remitting, Disease Progression, Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Disability Evaluation, Analysis of Variance, Chi-Square Distribution, Predictive Value of Tests, Time Factors, Adult, Middle Aged, Europe, Female, Male, Leukoencephalopathies