Critical spinal cord lesions associate with secondary progressive motor impairment in long-standing MS: A population-based case-control study

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Abstract

Background: Progressive motor impairment anatomically attributable to prominent, focally atrophic lateral column spinal cord lesions (“critical lesions”) can be seen in multiple sclerosis (MS), for example, progressive hemiparetic MS. Objective: The aim of this study was to investigate whether similar spinal cord lesions are more frequent in long-standing MS patients with secondary progressive motor impairment (secondary progressive MS (SPMS)) versus those maintaining a relapsing-remitting course (relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS)). Methods: We retrospectively identified Olmsted County (MN, USA) residents on 31 December 2011 with (1) RRMS or SPMS for ⩾25 years, and (2) available brain and spine magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). A blinded neuroradiologist determined demyelinating lesion burden and presence of potential critical lesions (prominent focally atrophic spinal cord lateral column lesions). Results: In total, 32 patients were included: RRMS, 18; SPMS, 14. Median (range) disease duration (34 (27–53) vs. 39 (29–47) years) and relapse number (4 (1–10) vs. 3 (1–15)) were similar. In comparison to RRMS, SPMS patients more commonly showed potential critical spinal cord lesions (8/18 (44%) vs. 14/14 (100%)), higher spinal cord (median (range) 4 (1–7) vs. 7.5 (3–12)), and brain infratentorial (median (range) 1 (0–12) vs. 2.5 (1–13)) lesion number; p < 0.05. By multivariate analysis, only the presence of potential critical lesions independently associated with motor progression (p = 0.02). Conclusion: Critical spinal cord lesions may be important contributors to motor progression in MS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalMultiple Sclerosis Journal
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2020

Keywords

  • MRI
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • T2 lesions
  • demyelination
  • outcome
  • spinal cord

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology

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