Functional cerebral changes in multiple sclerosis patients during an autobiographical memory test

Alexandra Ernst, Vincent Noblet, Ekaterina Denkova, Frédéric Blanc, Jérôme de Seze, Daniel Gounot, Liliann Manning

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Our aim was to investigate the functional underpinnings of autobiographical memory (AM) impairment in multiple sclerosis (MS) patients. To that end, 18 patients and 18 controls underwent the autobiographical interview (AI). Subsequently, the 36 participants underwent a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) session designed to assess the construction and elaboration of AMs. A categorical control task was also presented. Patients were trained in the fMRI procedure to optimise the procedural aspects accompanying the task itself. Although the patients obtained significantly poorer AI scores (p <.001), their performance on the easier AM fMRI task was efficiently carried out, allowing relevant comparisons with healthy controls. Relatively to healthy controls, the patients showed increased and bilateral cerebral activations (p <.005) during the construction and elaboration phases. The prefrontal, temporal and posterior cerebral region activations were located within the core network sustaining AM, with the bilateral prefrontal region being centrally involved. The parametric neural responses to the difficulty of access and amount of details of memories were also significantly different for the two groups, with the right hippocampal region showing a particularly increased recruitment (p <.005). The findings suggested the presence of functional cerebral changes during AM performance and supported the presence of AM retrieval deficit in MS patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1123-1139
Number of pages17
Issue number8
StatePublished - Nov 17 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Autobiographical interview
  • Autobiographical memory
  • Cerebral activation changes
  • Functional MRI
  • Multiple sclerosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Psychology(all)


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