Sunday, 29 June 2014

Spinal cord loss associated with disability

Lukas C, Knol DL, Sombekke MH, Bellenberg B, Hahn HK, Popescu V, Weier K, Radue EW, Gass A, Kappos L, Naegelin Y, Uitdehaag BM, Geurts JJ, Barkhof F, Vrenken H. Cervical spinal cord volume loss is related to clinical disability progression in multiple sclerosis. J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry. 2014 Jun . pii: jnnp-2014-308021. doi: 1

OBJECTIVE: To examine the temporal evolution of spinal cord (SC) atrophy in multiple sclerosis (MS), and its association with clinical progression in a large MS cohort.
METHODS: A total of 352 patients from two centres with MS (relapsing remitting MS (RRMS): 256, secondary progressive MS (SPMS): 73, primary progressive MS (PPMS): 23) were included. Clinical and MRI parameters were obtained at baseline, after 12 months and 24 months of follow-up. In addition to conventional brain and SC MRI parameters, the annualised percentage brain volume change and the annualised percentage upper cervical cord cross-sectional area change (aUCCA) were quantified. Main outcome measure was disease progression, defined by expanded disability status scale increase after 24 months.
RESULTS: UCCA was lower in SPMS and PPMS compared with RRMS for all time points. aUCCA over 24 months was highest in patients with SPMS (-2.2% per year) and was significantly higher in patients with disease progression (-2.3% per year) than in stable patients (-1.2% per year; p=0.003), while annualised percentage brain volume change did not differ between subtypes (RRMS: -0.42% per year; SPMS -0.6% per year; PPMS: -0.46% per year) nor between progressive and stable patients (p=0.055). Baseline UCCA and aUCCA over 24 months were found to be relevant contributors of expanded disability status scale at month-24, while baseline UCCA as well as number of SC segments involved by lesions at baseline but not aUCCA were relevant contributors of disease progression.

CONCLUSIONS: SC MRI parameters including baseline UCCA and SC lesions were significant MRI predictors of disease progression. Progressive 24-month upper SC atrophy occurred in all MS subtypes, and was faster in patients exhibiting disease progression at month-24.

If you have progressive disease you are loosing spinal nerves at a faster rate than if you are not-progressing and this is more evident in SPMSers and PPMSers than RRMSers. So this suggest that you can see differences at 2 years. There was a big difference in the spinal cord volume but the effect was much smaller when studying brain one wonders why brain volume is a core for trials of progressive MS  are neuros making harder for themselves to find a treatment? 


  1. Does this mean that PPMSers have better brain atrophy volumes but worse spinal cord volume? Why is this, sir?

  2. I failed my O level biology, but could conclude that losing your spinal cord leads to disability! As usual for MSers, the questions are can it be stopped and can it be repaired.


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