Impaired Cerebrovascular Reactivity in Multiple Sclerosis


Vascular aspects like global cerebral hypoperfusion are frequently reported in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS). Although mechanistic question remains unanswered, this hemodynamic impairment may be caused by a widespread endothelial dysfunction. Furthermore, impaired cerebrovascular reactivity (CVR) has been described in patients with MS by means of hypercapnic perfusion magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

In this article ( the authors evaluated consecutive patients with MS and healthy controls with adequate bilateral transtemporal window. CVR was assessed by bilateral transcranial Doppler monitoring of proximal middle cerebral arteries. Mean flow velocities were recorded before and after 30 seconds of breath holding. Vasomotor response was quantified by breath holding index (BHI).

These preliminary sonographic findings appear to independently corroborate the previously reported observation of impaired CVR on brain MRI in patients with MS. However, the underlying pathophysiological mechanisms as well as the clinical impact of this observation remain elusive.