PublicationsAccumulation of meningeal lymphocytes correlates with white matter lesion activity in progressive MS
Subpial cortical demyelination is an important component of multiple sclerosis (MS) pathology contributing to disease progression, yet mechanism(s) underlying its development remain unclear. Compartmentalized inflammation involving the meninges may drive this type of injury. Given recent findings identifying substantial white matter (WM) lesion activity in patients with progressive MS, elucidating whether and how WM lesional activity relates to meningeal inflammation and subpial cortical injury is of interest. Using post-mortem formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tissue blocks (range, 5-72 blocks; median, 30 blocks) for each of 27 progressive MS patients, we assessed the relationship between meningeal inflammation, the extent of subpial cortical demyelination, and the state of subcortical WM lesional activity. Meningeal accumulations of T cells and B cells, but not myeloid cells, were spatially adjacent to subpial cortical lesions and greater immune-cell accumulation was associated with higher subpial lesion numbers. Patients with a higher extent of meningeal inflammation harboured a greater proportion of active and mixed (active-inactive) WM lesions, and an overall lower proportion of inactive and remyelinated WM lesions. Our findings support the involvement of meningeal lymphocytes in subpial cortical injury, and also point to a potential link between inflammatory subpial cortical demyelination and pathological mechanisms occurring in the subcortical white matter.