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Abstract #1378

Brainstem monoaminergic functional and structural connectivity is altered in multiple sclerosis and contributes to fatigue

Tiziana Carandini1,2, Matteo Mancini1,3,4, Iulia Bogdan1, Charlotte Rae5, Andrew Barritt1, Arjun Sethi6, Neil Harrison7, Waqar Rashid1, Mara Cercignani1, and Marco Bozzali1
1Department of Neuroscience, Brighton and Sussex Medical School, University of Sussex, Brighton, United Kingdom, 2Fondazione IRCCS Ca' Granda Ospedale Maggiore Policlinico, Milan, Italy, 3NeuroPoly Lab, Polytechnique Montreal, Montreal, QC, Canada, 4CUBRIC, Cardiff University, Cardiff, United Kingdom, 5School of Psychology, University of Sussex, Brighton, United Kingdom, 6Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience, King’s College London, London, United Kingdom, 7Department of Psychology and Department of Medicine, Cardiff University, Cardiff, United Kingdom

Brainstem monoaminergic functional and structural connectivity was investigated in a cohort of patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) and healthy controls. RS-fMRI analysis revealed in MS patients reduced functional connectivity between monoaminergic nuclei and central brain networks that are critically involved in the pathophysiology of MS. Functional alterations were associated to structural disconnections between these nuclei and cortical/subcortical efferent targets in MS patients. Axonal loss in the mesocorticolimbic tracts and in the noradrenergic projections to prefrontal cortex was associated with central fatigue in MS patients, whereas brainstem functional connectivity did not correlate with fatigue.

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