Auditory Evoked Potentials in Multiple Sclerosis: Correlation with Magnetic Resonance Imaging

T. Hendler*, N. K. Squires, J. K. Moore, P. K. Coyle

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The present study addresses issues regarding the location of neural sources (i.e. generators) of human auditory evoked potentials (AEPs), and the pattern of neural conduction in the auditory pathway. AEPs were recorded from fifteen patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) and compared to normals. The recordings included auditory brainstem responses (ABRs), mid-latency responses (MLRs), and long-latency responses (LLRs). AEP latency abnormalities were related to the locus of demyelinating lesions, as determined by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans. The data demonstrated several anatomical patterns relating abnormal ABR wave intervals and abnormal MRI signals. From these patterns specific loci for ABR neural sources in the brainstem might be postulated. In addition, the earlier the ABR waves, the more unilateral the abnormalities appeared, suggesting bilateral sources for later waves. The MLRs were highly correlated with ABR wave V and were associated with greater abnormality in MRI signals in midbrain and forebrain regions. In general, patients with abnormal LLRs also had widespread AEP and MRI abnormalities, supporting a multiple source approach for the N1 wave of the LLRs. The observation that LLRs were only abnormal in the presence of bilateral ABR abnormalities suggests a cross wiring which would serve as a compensatory mechanism for unilateral disturbances. The AEP data showed dissociation between early and late wave abnormalities, thus supporting parallel channels for neural conduction in the central auditory system. Such a model calls for some degree of independence of AEP generators along the auditory pathway.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)245-278
Number of pages34
JournalJournal of Basic and Clinical Physiology and Pharmacology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1996
Externally publishedYes


  • auditory brainstem responses (ABRs)
  • auditory evoked potential components
  • long-latency responses (LLRs)
  • mid-latency responses (MLRs)
  • neural generators


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