Neuroimaging of CNS White Matter
The main research interest of the Neuroimaging of CNS White Matter Unit is multiple sclerosis (MS) and white matter (WM) disorders, studied through the lens of neuroimaging. Diagnosis and differential diagnosis, improving the understanding of the mechanisms associated with the development of irreversible clinical disability and cognitive dysfunction, identifying early prognostic factors of long-term unfavourable clinical outcome, measuring in-vivo functional and structural plasticity processes associated with recovery of function, which may become the target of tailored treatments aimed at promoting restoration and/or preservation of function, are the main lines of the research.
- To combine multiparametric MRI techniques to define the anatomical and functional substrates of motor and cognitive dysfunction in pediatric and adult MS patients to track their evolution over time and to identify clinical and MRI predictors of long term disease worsening;
- To disentangle the role of gray matter (GM) damage (lesions, microscopic abnormalities, tissue loss) and of damage of selected GM structures (e.g., hippocampus, thalamus, etc) on MS clinical manifestations and progression;
- To use structural and functional MRI techniques to identify the brain networks related to successful outcome in MS patients treated with different motor or cognitive rehabilitation strategies (e.g, action observation therapy, aerobic training);
- To analyze the morphological and functional changes associated with motor and cognitive learning in healthy subjects, in order to develop paradigms tailored for pathologic processes;
- To build a full-automatic or semiautomatic analysis framework for clinical use for the quantification of lesions and atrophy of the whole brain and the GM;
- To develop novel biomarkers of spinal cord damage in MS, capable to monitor and predict evolution in MS, which could also be used in clinical trials as an outcome for treatment monitoring;
- To identify structural and functional MR markers of white matter diseases, including migraine, cluster headache, NMOSD, LHON, NPSLE, and primary CNS vasculitidis and to develop classification algorithms based on imaging features, to be applied in the diagnostic work-up of these conditions.
Rocca MA, Battaglini M, Benedict RH, De Stefano N, Geurts JJ, Henry RG, Horsfield MA, Jenkinson M, Pagani E, Filippi M. Brain MRI atrophy quantification in MS: From methods to clinical application. Neurology 2017; 88: 403-413.
Rocca MA, Amato MP, De Stefano N, Enzinger C, Geurts JJ, Penner IK, Rovira A, Sumowski JF, Valsasina P, Filippi M, for the MAGNIMS Study Group. Clinical and imaging assessment of cognitive dysfunction in multiple sclerosis. Lancet Neurol. 2015; 14: 302-317.
Rocca MA, Absinta M, Amato MP, Moiola L, Ghezzi A, Veggiotti P, Capra R, Portaccio E, Fiorino A, Pippolo L, Pera MC, Horsfield MA, Falini A, Comi G, Filippi M. Posterior brain damage and cognitive impairment in pediatric multiple sclerosis. Neurology 2014; 82; 1314-1321.
Filippi M, Preziosa P, Copetti M, Riccitelli G, Horsfield MA, Martinelli V, Comi G, Rocca MA. Gray matter damage predicts the accumulation of disability 13 years later in MS. Neurology 2013; 81: 1759-1767.
Rocca MA, Valsasina P, Martinelli V, Misci P, Falini A, Comi G, Filippi M. Large-scale neuronal network dysfunction in relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis. Neurology 2012; 79: 1449-1457.
Comi G, Jeffery D, Kappos L, Montalban X, Boyko A, Rocca MA, Filippi M, for the ALLEGRO Study Group. Placebo-controlled trial of oral Laquinimod for multiple sclerosis. N Eng J Med. 2012; 366: 1000-1009.
Filippi M, Riccitelli G, Mattioli F, Capra R, Stampatori C, Pagani E, Valsasina P, Copetti M, Falini A, Comi G, Rocca MA. Multiple sclerosis: effects of cognitive rehabilitation on structural and functional MRI measures - an explorative study. Radiology 2012; 262: 932-940.
Rocca MA, Horsfield MA, Sala S, Copetti M, Valsasina P, Mesaros S, Martinelli V, Caputo D, Stosic-Opincal T, Drulovic J, Comi G, Filippi M. A multicenter assessment of cervical cord atrophy among MS clinical phenotypes. Neurology 2011; 76: 2096-210.
Rocca MA, Valsasina P, Absinta M, Riccitelli G, Rodegher M, Misci P, Rossi P, Falini A, Comi G, Filippi M. Default-mode network dysfunction and cognitive impairment in progressive MS. Neurology 2010; 74: 1252-1259.
Rocca MA, Colombo B, Falini A, Ghezzi A, Martinelli V, Scotti G, Comi G, Filippi M. Cortical adaptation in patients with MS: a cross-sectional functional MRI study of disease phenotypes. Lancet Neurol. 2005; 4: 618-626.