Second language learning induces grey matter volume increase in people with multiple sclerosis

Autoři: Rainer Ehling aff001;  Matthias Amprosi aff003;  Benjamin Kremmel aff004;  Gabriel Bsteh aff003;  Kathrin Eberharter aff004;  Matthias Zehentner aff004;  Ruth Steiger aff005;  Noora Tuovinen aff003;  Elke R. Gizewski aff005;  Thomas Benke aff003;  Thomas Berger aff003;  Carol Spöttl aff004;  Christian Brenneis aff001;  Christoph Scherfler aff003
Působiště autorů: Department of Neurology, Clinic for Rehabilitation Münster, Münster, Austria aff001;  Karl Landsteiner Institut für Interdisziplinäre Forschung am Reha Zentrum Münster, Münster, Austria aff002;  Department of Neurology, Medical University of Innsbruck, Innsbruck, Austria aff003;  Language Testing Research Group Innsbruck, Department for Subject Specific Education, University of Innsbruck, Innsbruck, Austria aff004;  Department of Neuroradiology, Medical University of Innsbruck, Innsbruck, Austria aff005;  Neuroimaging Research Core Facility, Medical University Innsbruck, Innsbruck, Austria aff006
Vyšlo v časopise: PLoS ONE 14(12)
Kategorie: Research Article
doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0226525



Grey matter volume (GMV) decline is a frequent finding in multiple sclerosis (MS), the most common chronic neurological disease in young adults. Increases of GMV were detected in language related brain regions following second language (L2) learning in healthy adults. Effects of L2 learning in people with MS (pwMS) have not been investigated so far.


This study prospectively evaluated the potential of an eight-week L2 training on grey matter plasticity measured by 3T-MRI, L2 proficiency and health-related quality of life (HRQoL) in people with relapsing-remitting MS (pwMS, n = 11) and healthy, sex- and age-matched controls (HCs; n = 12).


Categorical voxel-based analysis revealed significantly less GMV bilaterally of the insula extending to the temporal pole in pwMS at baseline. Following L2 training, significant increases of GMV were evident in the right hippocampus, parahippocampus and putamen of pwMS and in the left insula of HCs. L2 training resulted in significant improvements of listening comprehension, speaking fluency and vocabulary knowledge in both pwMS and HCs. GMV increases of right hippocampus and parahippocampus significantly correlated with vocabulary knowledge gain and L2 learning was associated with a significant increase of HRQoL in pwMS.


Our findings demonstrate distinct patterns of GMV increases of language related brain regions in pwMS and HCs and indicate disease-related compensatory cortical and subcortical plasticity to acquire L2 proficiency in pwMS.

Klíčová slova:

Central nervous system – Cognitive impairment – Human learning – Language – Language acquisition – Learning – Magnetic resonance imaging – Multiple sclerosis


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