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Multiple Sclerosis International
Volume 2013, Article ID 857807, 7 pages
Review Article

The Contribution of Resting State Networks to the Study of Cortical Reorganization in MS

1II Division of Neurology, Second University of Naples, Piazza Miraglia 2, 80138 Naples, Italy
2MRI Center “SUN-FISM,” Second University of Naples and Institute of Diagnosis and Care “Hermitage-Capodimonte,” Piazza Miraglia 2, 80138 Naples, Italy
3Department of Neuroscience, University Federico II, 80131 Naples, Italy

Received 4 January 2013; Accepted 17 September 2013

Academic Editor: Francesca Bagnato

Copyright © 2013 Rosaria Sacco et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Resting State fMRI (RS-fMRI) represents an emerging and powerful tool to explore brain functional connectivity (FC) changes associated with neurologic disorders. Compared to activation/task-related fMRI, RS-fMRI has the advantages that (i) BOLD fMRI signals are self-generated and independent of subject’s performance during the task and (ii) a single dataset is sufficient to extract a set of RS networks (RSNs) that allows to explore whole brain FC. According to these features RS-fMRI appears particularly suitable for the study of FC changes related to multiple sclerosis (MS). In the present review we will first give a brief description of RS-fMRI methodology and then an overview of most relevant studies conducted so far in MS by using this approach. The most interesting results, in particular, regard the default-mode network (DMN), whose FC changes have been correlated with cognitive status of MS patients, and the visual RSN (V-RSN) whose FC changes have been correlated with visual recovery after optic neuritis. The executive control network (ECN), the lateralized frontoparietal network (FPN), and the sensory motor network (SMN) have also been investigated in MS, showing significant FC rearrangements. All together, RS-fMRI studies conducted so far in MS suggest that prominent RS-FC changes can be detected in many RSNs and correlate with clinical and/or structural MRI measures. Future RS-fMRI studies will further clarify the dynamics and clinical impact of RSNs changes in MS.