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Keywords:

  • cerebral blood flow;
  • cognition;
  • multiple sclerosis;
  • magnetic resonance spectroscopy;
  • Paced Auditory Serial Addition Test

Background

To assess the relationship between performance on the Paced Auditory Serial Addition Test (PASAT) and both cerebral blood flow (CBF) and axonal metabolic integrity in normal appearing white matter (NAWM) of the centrum semiovale in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS).

Methods

Normal appearing white matter of the centrum semiovale was investigated with magnetic resonance (MR) imaging in 28 non-depressed individuals (18 patients with MS and 10 healthy controls). CBF was assessed with pseudo-continuous arterial spin labeling. N-acetylacetate/creatine (NAA/Cr) ratios (a metabolic axonal marker) were measured using 1H-MR spectroscopy. CBF was also measured in frontoparietal cortices and cerebellar hemispheres.

Results

In subjects with MS, we found a positive correlation between performance on the PASAT and CBF to the left centrum semiovale (P = 0.008), but not with the NAA/Cr ratio. There were no correlations between PASAT scores and CBF to the right centrum semiovale, frontoparietal cortices, and cerebellar hemispheres. There was no correlation between PASAT scores and NAA/Cr ratios.

Conclusions

Our preliminary results suggest that performance on the PASAT in subjects with MS correlates with CBF to the left centrum semiovale, which contains left frontoparietal white matter association tracts involved in information processing speed and working memory.