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Quantitative MRI of rostral spinal cord and brain regions is predictive of functional recovery in acute spinal cord injury


Seif, Maryam; Curt, Armin; Thompson, Alan J; Grabher, Patrick; Weiskopf, Nikolaus; Freund, Patrick (2018). Quantitative MRI of rostral spinal cord and brain regions is predictive of functional recovery in acute spinal cord injury. NeuroImage: Clinical, 20:556-563.

Abstract

Objective To reveal the immediate extent of trauma-induced neurodegenerative changes rostral to the level of lesion and determine the predictive clinical value of quantitative MRI (qMRI) following acute spinal cord injury (SCI). Methods Twenty-four acute SCI patients and 23 healthy controls underwent a high-resolution T1-weighted protocol. Eighteen of those patients and 20 of controls additionally underwent a multi-parameter mapping (MPM) MRI protocol sensitive to the content of tissue structure, including myelin and iron. Patients were examined clinically at baseline, 2, 6, 12, and 24 months post-SCI. We assessed volume and microstructural changes in the spinal cord and brain using T1-weighted MRI, magnetization transfer (MT), longitudinal relaxation rate (R1), and effective transverse relaxation rate (R2*) maps. Regression analysis determined associations between acute qMRI parameters and recovery. Results At baseline, cord area and its anterior-posterior width were decreased in patients, whereas MT, R1, and R2* parameters remained unchanged in the cord. Within the cerebellum, volume decrease was paralleled by increases of MT and R2* parameters. Early grey matter changes were observed within the primary motor cortex and limbic system. Importantly, early volume and microstructural changes of the cord and cerebellum predicted functional recovery following injury. Conclusions Neurodegenerative changes rostral to the level of lesion occur early in SCI, with varying temporal and spatial dynamics. Early qMRI markers of spinal cord and cerebellum are predictive of functional recovery. These neuroimaging biomarkers may supplement clinical assessments and provide insights into the potential of therapeutic interventions to enhance neural plasticity.

Abstract

Objective To reveal the immediate extent of trauma-induced neurodegenerative changes rostral to the level of lesion and determine the predictive clinical value of quantitative MRI (qMRI) following acute spinal cord injury (SCI). Methods Twenty-four acute SCI patients and 23 healthy controls underwent a high-resolution T1-weighted protocol. Eighteen of those patients and 20 of controls additionally underwent a multi-parameter mapping (MPM) MRI protocol sensitive to the content of tissue structure, including myelin and iron. Patients were examined clinically at baseline, 2, 6, 12, and 24 months post-SCI. We assessed volume and microstructural changes in the spinal cord and brain using T1-weighted MRI, magnetization transfer (MT), longitudinal relaxation rate (R1), and effective transverse relaxation rate (R2*) maps. Regression analysis determined associations between acute qMRI parameters and recovery. Results At baseline, cord area and its anterior-posterior width were decreased in patients, whereas MT, R1, and R2* parameters remained unchanged in the cord. Within the cerebellum, volume decrease was paralleled by increases of MT and R2* parameters. Early grey matter changes were observed within the primary motor cortex and limbic system. Importantly, early volume and microstructural changes of the cord and cerebellum predicted functional recovery following injury. Conclusions Neurodegenerative changes rostral to the level of lesion occur early in SCI, with varying temporal and spatial dynamics. Early qMRI markers of spinal cord and cerebellum are predictive of functional recovery. These neuroimaging biomarkers may supplement clinical assessments and provide insights into the potential of therapeutic interventions to enhance neural plasticity.

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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:19 August 2018
Deposited On:12 Sep 2018 12:39
Last Modified:24 Sep 2019 23:36
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:2213-1582
OA Status:Gold
Free access at:PubMed ID. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.nicl.2018.08.026
PubMed ID:30175042

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