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Ann Neurol. 2017 Nov;82(5):719-728. doi: 10.1002/ana.25072. Epub 2017 Nov 8.

Imaging spinal cord atrophy in progressive myelopathies: HTLV-I-associated neurological disease (HAM/TSP) and multiple sclerosis (MS).

Author information

1
Viral Immunology Section, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, National Institutes of Health (NIH), Bethesda, MD.
2
Translational Neuroradiology Section, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, National Institutes of Health (NIH), Bethesda, MD.
3
Neuroimmunology Clinic, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, National Institutes of Health (NIH), Bethesda, MD.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

Previous work measures spinal cord thinning in chronic progressive myelopathies, including human T-lymphotropic virus 1 (HTLV-1)-associated myelopathy/tropical spastic paraparesis (HAM/TSP) and multiple sclerosis (MS). Quantitative measurements of spinal cord atrophy are important in fully characterizing these and other spinal cord diseases. We aimed to investigate patterns of spinal cord atrophy and correlations with clinical markers.

METHODS:

Spinal cord cross-sectional area was measured in individuals (24 healthy controls [HCs], 17 asymptomatic carriers of HTLV-1 (AC), 47 HAM/TSP, 74 relapsing-remitting MS [RRMS], 17 secondary progressive MS [SPMS], and 40 primary progressive MS [PPMS]) from C1 to T10. Clinical disability scores, viral markers, and immunological parameters were obtained for patients and correlated with representative spinal cord cross-sectional area regions at the C2 to C3, C4 to C5, and T4 to T9 levels. In 2 HAM/TSP patients, spinal cord cross-sectional area was measured over 3 years.

RESULTS:

All spinal cord regions are thinner in HAM/TSP (56 mm2 [standard deviation, 10], 59 [10], 23 [5]) than in HC (76 [7], 83 [8], 38 [4]) and AC (71 [7], 78 [9], 36 [7]). SPMS (62 [9], 66 [9], 32 [6]) and PPMS (65 [11], 68 [10], 35 [7]) have thinner cervical cords than HC and RRMS (73 [9], 77 [10], 37 [6]). Clinical disability scores (Expanded Disability Status Scale [p = 0.009] and Instituto de Pesquisas de Cananeia [p = 0.03]) and CD8+ T-cell frequency (p = 0.04) correlate with T4 to T9 spinal cord cross-sectional area in HAM/TSP. Higher cerebrospinal fluid HTLV-1 proviral load (p = 0.01) was associated with thinner spinal cord cross-sectional area. Both HAM/TSP patients followed longitudinally showed thoracic thinning followed by cervical thinning.

INTERPRETATION:

Group average spinal cord cross-sectional area in HAM/TSP and progressive MS show spinal cord atrophy. We further hypothesize in HAM/TSP that is possible that neuroglial loss from a thoracic inflammatory process results in anterograde and retrograde degeneration of axons, leading to the temporal progression of thoracic to cervical atrophy described here. Ann Neurol 2017;82:719-728.

PMID:
29024167
DOI:
10.1002/ana.25072
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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