Aerobic fitness is associated with gray matter volume and white matter integrity in multiple sclerosis

Ruchika Shaurya Prakash, Erin M. Snook, Robert W Motl, Arthur F Kramer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Alterations in gray and white matter have been well documented in individuals with multiple sclerosis. Severity and extent of such brain tissue damage have been associated with cognitive impairment, disease duration and neurological disability, making quantitative indices of tissue damage important markers of disease progression. In this study, we investigated the association between cardiorespiratory fitness and measures of gray matter atrophy and white matter integrity. Employing voxel-based approaches to analysis of gray matter and white matter, we specifically examined whether higher levels of fitness in multiple sclerosis participants were associated with preserved gray matter volume and integrity of white matter. We found a positive association between cardiorespiratory fitness and regional gray matter volumes and higher focal fractional anisotropy values. Statistical mapping revealed that higher levels of fitness were associated with greater gray matter volume in the midline cortical structures including the medial frontal gyrus, anterior cingulate cortex and the precuneus. Further, we also found that increasing levels of fitness were associated with higher fractional anisotropy in the left thalamic radiation and right anterior corona radiata. Both preserved gray matter volume and white matter tract integrity were associated with better performance on measures of processing speed. Taken together, these results suggest that fitness exerts a prophylactic influence on the structural decline observed early on, preserving neuronal integrity in multiple sclerosis, thereby reducing long-term disability.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)41-51
Number of pages11
JournalBrain Research
Volume1341
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 23 2010

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Keywords

  • Cardiorespiratory fitness
  • Cortical atrophy
  • Neuroplasticity
  • Normal appearing gray matter
  • Normal appearing white matter
  • Processing speed
  • Relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Molecular Biology

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