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Tracking sensory system atrophy and outcome prediction in spinal cord injury


Grabher, Patrick; Callaghan, Martina F; Ashburner, John; Weiskopf, Nikolaus; Thompson, Alan J; Curt, Armin; Freund, Patrick (2015). Tracking sensory system atrophy and outcome prediction in spinal cord injury. Annals of Neurology, 78(5):751-761.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE: In patients with subacute spinal cord injury (SCI), the motor system undergoes progressive structural changes rostral to the lesion, which are associated with motor outcome. The extent to which the sensory system is affected and how this relates to sensory outcome are uncertain.
METHODS: Changes in the sensory system were prospectively followed by applying a comprehensive magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) protocol to 14 patients with subacute traumatic SCI at baseline, 2 months, 6 months, and 12 months after injury, combined with a full neurological examination and comprehensive pain assessment. Eighteen controls underwent the same MRI protocol. T1-weighted volumes, myelin-sensitive magnetization transfer saturation (MT), and longitudinal relaxation rate (R1) mapping provided data on spinal cord and brain morphometry and microstructure. Regression analysis assessed the relationship between MRI readouts and sensory outcomes.
RESULTS: At 12 months from baseline, sensory scores were unchanged and below-level neuropathic pain became prominent. Compared with controls, patients showed progressive degenerative changes in cervical cord and brain morphometry across the sensory system. At 12 months, MT and R1 were reduced in areas of structural decline. Sensory scores at 12 months correlated with rate of change in cord area and brain volume and decreased MT in the spinal cord at 12 months.
INTERPRETATION: This study has demonstrated progressive atrophic and microstructural changes across the sensory system with a close relation to sensory outcome. Structural MRI protocols remote from the site of lesion provide new insights into neuronal degeneration underpinning sensory disturbance and have potential as responsive biomarkers of rehabilitation and treatment interventions.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE: In patients with subacute spinal cord injury (SCI), the motor system undergoes progressive structural changes rostral to the lesion, which are associated with motor outcome. The extent to which the sensory system is affected and how this relates to sensory outcome are uncertain.
METHODS: Changes in the sensory system were prospectively followed by applying a comprehensive magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) protocol to 14 patients with subacute traumatic SCI at baseline, 2 months, 6 months, and 12 months after injury, combined with a full neurological examination and comprehensive pain assessment. Eighteen controls underwent the same MRI protocol. T1-weighted volumes, myelin-sensitive magnetization transfer saturation (MT), and longitudinal relaxation rate (R1) mapping provided data on spinal cord and brain morphometry and microstructure. Regression analysis assessed the relationship between MRI readouts and sensory outcomes.
RESULTS: At 12 months from baseline, sensory scores were unchanged and below-level neuropathic pain became prominent. Compared with controls, patients showed progressive degenerative changes in cervical cord and brain morphometry across the sensory system. At 12 months, MT and R1 were reduced in areas of structural decline. Sensory scores at 12 months correlated with rate of change in cord area and brain volume and decreased MT in the spinal cord at 12 months.
INTERPRETATION: This study has demonstrated progressive atrophic and microstructural changes across the sensory system with a close relation to sensory outcome. Structural MRI protocols remote from the site of lesion provide new insights into neuronal degeneration underpinning sensory disturbance and have potential as responsive biomarkers of rehabilitation and treatment interventions.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Balgrist University Hospital, Swiss Spinal Cord Injury Center
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Language:English
Date:20 August 2015
Deposited On:25 Nov 2015 10:04
Last Modified:07 Aug 2017 00:52
Publisher:Wiley-Blackwell Publishing, Inc.
ISSN:0364-5134
Free access at:PubMed ID. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1002/ana.24508
PubMed ID:26290444

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