Multiple sclerosis: understanding hippocampal involvement


  • The Lancet Neurology
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Some of the clinical manifestations of multiple sclerosis, such as memory impairment and depression, are, at least partly, related to involvement of the hippocampus. Pathological studies have shown extensive demyelination, neuronal damage, and synaptic abnormalities in the hippocampus of patients with multiple sclerosis, and improvements in MRI technology have provided novel ways to assess hippocampal involvement in vivo. It is now accepted that clinical manifestations related to the hippocampus are due not only to focal hippocampal damage, but also to disconnection of the hippocampus from several brain networks. Evidence suggests anatomical and functional subspecialisation of the different hippocampal subfields, resulting in variability between regions in the extent to which damage and repair occur. The hippocampus also has important roles in plasticity and neurogenesis, both of which potentially contribute to functional preservation and restoration. These findings underline the importance of evaluation of the hippocampus not only to improve understanding of the clinical manifestations of multiple sclerosis, but also as a potential future target for treatment.