Regional Cerebellar Volume Loss Predicts Future Disability in Multiple Sclerosis Patients

Katrin Parmar, Vladimir S. Fonov, Yvonne Naegelin, Michael Amann, Jens Wuerfel, D. Louis Collins, Laura Gaetano, Stefano Magon, Till Sprenger, Ludwig Kappos, Cristina Granziera, Charidimos Tsagkas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Cerebellar symptoms in multiple sclerosis (MS) are well described; however, the exact contribution of cerebellar damage to MS disability has not been fully explored. Longer-term observational periods are necessary to better understand the dynamics of pathological changes within the cerebellum and their clinical consequences. Cerebellar lobe and single lobule volumes were automatically segmented on 664 3D-T1-weighted MPRAGE scans (acquired at a single 1.5 T scanner) of 163 MS patients (111 women; mean age: 47.1 years; 125 relapsing–remitting (RR) and 38 secondary progressive (SP) MS, median EDSS: 3.0) imaged annually over 4 years. Clinical scores (EDSS, 9HPT, 25FWT, PASAT, SDMT) were determined per patient per year with a maximum clinical follow-up of 11 years. Linear mixed-effect models were applied to assess the association between cerebellar volumes and clinical scores and whether cerebellar atrophy measures may predict future disability progression. SPMS patients exhibited faster posterior superior lobe volume loss over time compared to RRMS, which was related to increase of EDSS over time. In RRMS, cerebellar volumes were significant predictors of motor scores (e.g. average EDSS, T25FWT and 9HPT) and SDMT. Atrophy of motor-associated lobules (IV-VI + VIII) was a significant predictor of future deterioration of the 9HPT of the non-dominant hand. In SPMS, the atrophy rate of the posterior superior lobe (VI + Crus I) was a significant predictor of future PASAT performance deterioration. Regional cerebellar volume reduction is associated with motor and cognitive disability in MS and may serve as a predictor for future disease progression, especially of dexterity and impaired processing speed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)632-646
Number of pages15
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Cerebellum and atrophy
  • Magnetic resonance imaging
  • Multiple sclerosis


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