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Rinsho Byori. 1995 Sep;43(9):886-90.

[Neuroimaging and pathology of the spinal cord in compressive cervical myelopathy].

[Article in Japanese]

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  • 1Department of Neurology, Nagoya University School of Medicine.


Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) has enabled us to see the spinal intramedullary pathology as differences in signal intensity. Intramedullary high intensity lesions were observed on T2-weighted MRI in patients with cervical spondylotic myelopathy (20.0%) and ossification of the posterior longitudinal ligament (OPLL) of the cervical spine (25.7%). The frequency of this findings was proportional to the clinical severity of myelopathy and degree of spinal cord compression. The pathophysiological basis of such signal abnormality was presumed to vary from acute edema to chronic myelomalacia. The intramedullary lesion on MRI is considered to be the main site of lesion responsible for the neurological symptom because of a good correlation between the neurological level and high intensity level. We found from nine autopsy cases of OPLL that there are distinct differences in severity and extent of pathological changes between the spinal cord with a boomerang-shaped cross-section and that with a triangular-shaped cross-section. In the boomerang-shaped cases, major pathological changes were restricted to the gray matter and the white matter was relatively well preserved. Secondary wallerian degeneration was restricted to the fasciclus cuneatus the fibers of which were derived from the affected segments. In the cases of a triangular shape, pathological changes were more severe, both white and gray matter were involved. There were severe pathological changes over more than one segment, and both descending degeneration of the lateral pyramidal tracts and ascending degeneration of the posterior column, including the fasciclus gracilis, were observed. In conclusion, it is clinically very important to understand the pathological basis of the compressed spinal cord on neuroimages.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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