Lipid biochemical changes detected in normal appearing white matter of chronic multiple sclerosis by spectral coherent Raman imaging†
Multiple sclerosis (MS) exhibits demyelination, inflammatory infiltration, axonal degeneration, and gliosis, affecting widespread regions of the central nervous system (CNS). While white matter MS lesions have been well characterized pathologically, evidence indicates that the MS brain may be globally altered, with subtle abnormalities found in grossly normal appearing white matter (NAWM). These subtle changes are difficult to investigate by common methods such as histochemical stains and conventional magnetic resonance imaging. Thus, the prototypical inflammatory lesion likely represents the most obvious manifestation of a more widespread involvement of the CNS. We describe the application of spectral coherent anti-Stokes Raman Scattering (sCARS) microscopy to study such changes in chronic MS tissue particularly in NAWM. Subtle changes in myelin lipid biochemical signatures and intra-molecular disorder of fatty acid acyl chains of otherwise normal-appearing myelin were detected, supporting the notion that the biochemical involvement of the MS brain is far more extensive than conventional methods would suggest.