Neurophysiological evidence of compensatory brain mechanisms in early-stage multiple sclerosis

Mariana López-Góngora, Antonio Escartín, Saul Martínez-Horta, Ramón Fernández-Bobadilla, Luis Querol, Sergio Romero, Miquel Àngel Mañanas, Jordi Riba

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30 Citations (Scopus)


© 2015 López-Góngora et al. Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic central nervous system disorder characterized by white matter inflammation, demyelination and neurodegeneration. Although cognitive dysfunction is a common manifestation, it may go unnoticed in recently-diagnosed patients. Prior studies suggest MS patients develop compensatory mechanisms potentially involving enhanced performance monitoring. Here we assessed the performance monitoring system in early-stage MS patients using the error-related negativity (ERN), an event-related brain potential (ERP) observed following behavioral errors. Twenty-seven early-stage MS patients and 31 controls were neuropsychologically assessed. Electroencephalography recordings were obtained while participants performed: a) a stop task and b) an auditory oddball task. Behavior and ERP measures were assessed. No differences in performance were found between groups in most neuropsychological tests or in behavior or ERP components in the auditory oddball task. However, the amplitude of the ERN associated with stop errors in the stop task was significantly higher in patients. ERN amplitude correlated positively with scores on the Expanded Disability Status Scale and the Multiple Sclerosis Severity Score, and negatively with the time since last relapse. Patients showed higher neuronal recruitment in tasks involving performance monitoring. Results suggest the development of compensatory brain mechanisms in early-stage MS and reflect the sensitivity of the ERN to detect these changes.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0136786
JournalPloS one
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 31 Aug 2015


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