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J Vet Med Sci. 2015 Apr;77(4):433-8. doi: 10.1292/jvms.14-0582. Epub 2014 Dec 19.

Combination of serum phosphorylated neurofilament heavy subunit and hyperintensity of intramedullary T2W on magnetic resonance imaging provides better prognostic value of canine thoracolumbar intervertebral disc herniation.

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Maizuru Animal Medical Center, 8-22 Hamamachi, Kyoto; Department of Clinical Veterinary Science, United Graduate School of Veterinary Science, Gifu University, 1-1 Yanagito 509-1193, Japan.


The aim of this study was to evaluate the prognostic value of concurrent measurement of serum phosphorylated neurofilament heavy subunit (pNF-H) concentration and intramedullary T2W hyperintensity in paraplegic to paraplegic dogs. Our hypothesis was that concurrent measurement of these would provide a more accurate prediction of functional outcome in dogs with thoracolumbar intervertebral disc herniation (IVDH). A prospective case-control clinical study was designed using 94 dogs with acute onset of thoracolumbar IVDH. The association of serum pNF-H concentration, T2W hyperintensity on sagittal MRI (T2H/L2), deep pain perception and surgical outcome were evaluated with logistic regression analysis after three months for all 94 surgically treated dogs. Sensitivity to predict non-ambulatory outcome was compared among pNF-H and T2H/L2 and combination of both. Logistic regression analysis indicated that serum pNF-H concentration and T2H/L2 were significantly correlated with surgical outcome (P<0.05); however, deep pain perception was not (P=0.41). The results of logistic regression analysis indicated that the odds ratios of unsuccessful long-term outcome were 2.6 for serum pNF-H concentration, 1.9 for T2H/L2 and 2.3 for deep pain sensation. The sensitivity and specificity to predict non-ambulatory outcome for using serum parameter pNF-H>2.6 ng/ml, using T2H/L2 value of>0.84 and using both serum pNF-H and T2H/L2, were 95% and 75.7%, 65% and 86.5%, and 90.0% and 97.5%, respectively. Therefore, combined measurements of serum pNF-H and T2H/L2 might be useful for predicting long-term outcome in dogs with thoracolumbar IVDH.

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