Send to

Choose Destination
J Neurosurg Spine. 2015 Dec;23(6):707-14. doi: 10.3171/2015.3.SPINE141060. Epub 2015 Sep 4.

Electrophysiological assessments of the motor pathway in diabetic patients with compressive cervical myelopathy.

Author information

Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Integrated Health Sciences, Institute of Biomedical & Health Sciences, Hiroshima University, Hiroshima, Japan.



The occurrence of compressive cervical myelopathy (CCM) increases in adults over 50 years of age. In addition, diabetes mellitus (DM) is a frequent comorbidity for people of this age and may impact the severity of CCM. The authors assessed motor pathway function in diabetic patients with CCM to investigate the correlation between electrophysiological parameters and clinical symptoms.


Motor evoked potentials (MEPs) were measured from the abductor digiti minimi muscle (ADM) and the abductor hallucis muscle (AH) following transcranial magnetic stimulation, as were M- and F-waves following electrical stimulation of the ulnar and tibial nerves, in 22 patients with CCM and diabetes mellitus (DM) who had not experienced symptomatic diabetic neuropathy (CCM-DM group), in 92 patients with CCM alone (CCM group), and in 24 healthy adults (control group). The peripheral conduction time (PCT; measured from the ADM and AH) was calculated as follows: (M-wave latency + F-wave latency -1)/2. The central motor conduction time (CMCT; measured from the ADM and AH) was calculated by subtracting the PCT from the onset latency of the MEPs. The Japanese Orthopaedic Association (JOA) score for cervical myelopathy was obtained before and 1 year after surgery as a clinical outcome measure.


MEP, PCT, and CMCT parameters in the CCM-DM and CCM groups were significantly longer than those in the control group (p = 0.000-0.007). The PCTs in the CCM-DM group were significantly longer than those in the CCM group (p = 0.001-0.003). No significant differences were detected in the MEP and CMCT parameters between the CCM-DM and CCM groups (p = 0.080-1.000). The JOA score before surgery in the CCM-DM group was 10.7 ± 2.0 points and was significantly lower than that in the CCM group (12.2 ± 2.5 points, p = 0.015). In the CCM-DM group, JOA scores before surgery correlated with MEP-AH (r = -0.610, p = 0.012) and PCT-AH (r = -0.676, p = 0.004) values, but not with CMCT values, while the JOA scores were related to both MEP and CMCT parameters in the CCM group. The JOA scores improved to 13.8 ± 2.2 points after surgery (p = 0.001) and correlated with MEP-AH (r = -0.667, p = 0.005) and PCT-AH (r = -0.611, p = 0.012) in the CCM-DM group.


The results suggest that MEP, PCT, and CMCT parameters each reveal abnormalities in the upper and lower motor neurons even in patients with DM. The results also show a prolonged PCT in CCM-DM patients, despite having no history of diabetic neuropathy. Corticospinal tract impairments are similar between CCM and CCM-DM patients, while the JOA score of the CCM-DM patients is lower than that in the CCM patients. The JOA score in CCM-DM patients may be influenced by additional impairments in peripheral nerves or other diabetic complications. These electrophysiological studies may be useful for screening motor pathway function for CCM in patients with DM.


ADM = abductor digiti minimi muscle; AH = abductor hallucis muscle; BMI = body mass index; CCM = compressive cervical myelopathy; CMAP = compound muscle action potential; CMCT = central motor conduction time; CSM = cervical spondylotic myelopathy; DM = diabetes mellitus; F-wave; JOA = Japanese Orthopaedic Association; MEP = motor evoked potential; OPLL = ossification of the posterior longitudinal ligament; PCT = peripheral conduction time; TMS = transcranial magnetic stimulation; central motor conduction time; cervical; cervical myelopathy; corticospinal tract; diabetes mellitus; motor evoked potentials; peripheral conduction time; transcranial magnetic stimulation

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Sheridan PubFactory
Loading ...
Support Center