Marmoset experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) has previously been shown to replicate the essential features of both white matter and grey matter lesions of MS. This study set out to investigate whether cortical atrophy occurs in marmoset EAE and whether cortical thinning is related to the presence of focal, demyelinated cortical lesions.
17 leucocortical lesions and 13 subpial lesions were identified in 6 EAE cases. Cortical thickness surrounding these lesions was recorded and compared with matched cortical areas from 5 control animals.
We found a diffuse13–21% loss of cortical thickness in all areas of EAE cortex compared with control animals but there was no additional loss seen in demyelinated verses myelinated EAE cortex. These findings could not be accounted for by effects of age, sex and disease duration.
These findings confirm the presence of significant cortical atrophy in this model. We conclude that localised cortical demyelination is not responsible for the major part of the atrophy observed and that cortical thinning is largely due to more diffuse or more remote factors. Marmoset EAE is an invaluable tool which can be used to further investigate the cause and the substrate of cortical loss in demyelinating diseases.
Keywords: multiple sclerosis, experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis, marmoset, callithrix jacchus, cortical atrophy, cortical lesions