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Spinal cord atrophy in anterior-posterior direction reflects impairment in multiple sclerosis

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OBJECTIVE: To investigate how atrophy is distributed over the cross section of the upper cervical spinal cord and how this relates to functional impairment in multiple sclerosis (MS).

METHODS: We analysed the structural brain MRI scans of 54 patients with relapsing-remitting MS (n=22), primary progressive MS (n=9), secondary progressive MS (n=23) and 23 age- and sex-matched healthy controls. We measured the cross-sectional area (CSA), left-right width (LRW) and anterior-posterior width (APW) of the spinal cord at the segmental level C2. We tested for a nonparametric linear relationship between these atrophy measures and clinical impairments as reflected by the Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) and Multiple Sclerosis Impairment Scale (MSIS).

RESULTS: In patients with MS, CSA and APW but not LRW were reduced compared to healthy controls (P<.02) and showed significant correlations with EDSS, MSIS and specific MSIS subscores.

CONCLUSION: In patients with MS, atrophy of the upper cervical cord is most evident in the antero-posterior direction. As APW of the cervical cord can be readily derived from standard structural MRI of the brain, APW constitutes a clinically useful neuroimaging marker of disease-related neurodegeneration in MS.

TidsskriftActa Neurologica Scandinavica
Udgave nummer4
Sider (fra-til)330-337
StatusUdgivet - 1 okt. 2017

ID: 49631761