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AJNR Am J Neuroradiol. 2017 May;38(5):949-953. doi: 10.3174/ajnr.A5141. Epub 2017 Mar 16.

Enhancing Brain Lesions during Acute Optic Neuritis and/or Longitudinally Extensive Transverse Myelitis May Portend a Higher Relapse Rate in Neuromyelitis Optica Spectrum Disorders.

Author information

1
From the Division of Neuroradiology (G.O., Y.P., I.I.), Russell H. Morgan Department of Radiology.
2
Department of Radiology (K.Y.W.), Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas.
3
Biostatistics Center (C.B.T.), Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, Maryland.
4
Department of Neurology (M.M., M.L.), The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland.
5
From the Division of Neuroradiology (G.O., Y.P., I.I.), Russell H. Morgan Department of Radiology iizbuda1@jhmi.edu.

Abstract

BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE:

Neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorders are inflammatory demyelinating disorders with optic neuritis and/or longitudinally extensive transverse myelitis episodes. We now know that neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorders are associated with antibodies to aquaporin-4, which are highly concentrated on astrocytic end-feet at the blood-brain barrier. Immune-mediated disruption of the blood-brain barrier may manifest as contrast enhancement on brain MR imaging. We aimed to delineate the extent and frequency of contrast enhancement on brain MR imaging within 1 month of optic neuritis and/or longitudinally extensive transverse myelitis attacks and to correlate contrast enhancement with outcome measures.

MATERIALS AND METHODS:

Brain MRIs of patients with neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorders were evaluated for patterns of contrast enhancement (periependymal, cloudlike, leptomeningeal, and so forth). The Fisher exact test was used to evaluate differences between the proportion of contrast enhancement in patients who were seropositive and seronegative for aquaporin-4 antibodies. The Mann-Whitney test was used to compare the annualized relapse rate and disease duration between patients with and without contrast enhancement and with and without seropositivity.

RESULTS:

Brain MRIs of 77 patients were evaluated; 59 patients (10 males, 49 females) were scanned within 1 month of optic neuritis and/or longitudinally extensive transverse myelitis attacks and were included in the analysis. Forty-eight patients were seropositive, 9 were seronegative, and 2 were not tested for aquaporin-4 antibodies. Having brain contrast enhancement of any type during an acute attack was significantly associated with higher annualized relapse rates (P = .03) and marginally associated with shorter disease duration (P = .05). Having periependymal contrast enhancement was significantly associated with higher annualized relapse rates (P = .03).

CONCLUSIONS:

Brain MRIs of patients with neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorders with contrast enhancement during an acute relapse of optic neuritis and/or longitudinally extensive transverse myelitis are associated with increased annual relapse rates.

PMID:
28302609
PMCID:
PMC5433909
DOI:
10.3174/ajnr.A5141
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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