Quantitative MR Markers in Non-Myelopathic Spinal Cord Compression: A Narrative Review

Jan Valošek, Petr Bednařík, Miloš Keřkovský, Petr Hluštík, Josef Bednařík, Alena Svatkova*

*Corresponding author af dette arbejde
1 Citationer (Scopus)


Degenerative spinal cord compression is a frequent pathological condition with increasing prevalence throughout aging. Initial non-myelopathic cervical spinal cord compression (NMDC) might progress over time into potentially irreversible degenerative cervical myelopathy (DCM). While quantitative MRI (qMRI) techniques demonstrated the ability to depict intrinsic tissue properties, longitudinal in-vivo biomarkers to identify NMDC patients who will eventually develop DCM are still missing. Thus, we aim to review the ability of qMRI techniques (such as diffusion MRI, diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), magnetization transfer (MT) imaging, and magnetic resonance spectroscopy (1H-MRS)) to serve as prognostic markers in NMDC. While DTI in NMDC patients consistently detected lower fractional anisotropy and higher mean diffusivity at compressed levels, caused by demyelination and axonal injury, MT and 1H-MRS, along with advanced and tract-specific diffusion MRI, recently revealed microstructural alterations, also rostrally pointing to Wallerian degeneration. Recent studies also disclosed a significant relationship between microstructural damage and functional deficits, as assessed by qMRI and electrophysiology, respectively. Thus, tract-specific qMRI, in combination with electrophysiology, critically extends our understanding of the underlying pathophysiology of degenerative spinal cord compression and may provide predictive markers of DCM development for accurate patient management. However, the prognostic value must be validated in longitudinal studies.

TidsskriftJournal of Clinical Medicine
Udgave nummer9
Sider (fra-til)1-21
Antal sider21
StatusUdgivet - 20 apr. 2022


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