Quantitative vibratory sensation measurement is related to sensory cortical thickness in MS

Nora E. Fritz, Ani Eloyan, Jeffrey Glaister, Blake E. Dewey, Omar Al-Louzi, M. Gabriela Costello, Min Chen, Jerry L. Prince, Peter A. Calabresi, Kathleen M Zackowski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Objective: Vibratory sensation is a quantifiable measure of physical dysfunction and is often related to spinal cord pathology; however, its association with relevant brain areas has not been fully explored. Our objective was to establish a cortical structural substrate for vibration sensation. Methods: Eighty-four individuals with multiple sclerosis (MS) (n = 54 relapsing, n = 30 progressive) and 28 controls participated in vibratory sensation threshold quantification at the great toe and a 3T MRI evaluating volume of the thalamus and cortical thickness primary and secondary sensory cortices. Results: After controlling for age, sex, and disability level, vibratory sensation thresholds were significantly related to cortical thickness of the anterior cingulate (P = 0.041), parietal operculum (P = 0.022), and inferior frontal gyrus pars operculum (P = 0.044), pars orbitalis (P = 0.007), and pars triangularis (P = 0.029). Within the progressive disease subtype, there were significant relationships between vibratory sensation and thalamic volume (P = 0.039) as well as reduced inferior frontal gyrus pars operculum (P = 0.014) and pars orbitalis (P = 0.005) cortical thickness. Conclusions: The data show significant independent relationships between quantitative vibratory sensation and measures of primary and secondary sensory cortices. Quantitative clinical measurement of vibratory sensation reflects pathological changes in spatially distinct brain areas and may supplement information captured by brain atrophy measures. Without overt relapses, monitoring decline in progressive forms of MS has proved challenging; quantitative clinical assessment may provide a tool to examine pathological decline in this cohort. These data suggest that quantitative clinical assessment may be a reliable way to examine pathological decline and have broader relevance to progressive forms of MS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)586-595
Number of pages10
JournalAnnals of Clinical and Translational Neurology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Clinical Neurology


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