Inflammatory myelopathies can manifest with a combination of motor, sensory and autonomic dysfunction of variable severity. Depending on the underlying etiology, the episodes of myelitis can recur, often leading to irreversible spinal cord damage and major long-term disability. Three main demyelinating disorders of the central nervous system, namely multiple sclerosis (MS), aquaporin-4-IgG-positive neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorders (AQP4+NMOSD) and myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein-IgG associated disease (MOGAD), can induce spinal cord inflammation through different pathogenic mechanisms, resulting in a more or less profound disruption of spinal cord integrity. This ultimately translates into distinctive clinical-MRI features, as well as distinct patterns of disability accrual, with a step-wise worsening of neurological function in MOGAD and AQP4+NMOSD, and progressive disability accrual in MS. Early recognition of the specific etiologies of demyelinating myelitis and initiation of the appropriate treatment is crucial to improve outcome. In this review article we summarize and compare the clinical and imaging features of spinal cord involvement in these three demyelinating disorders, both during the acute phase and over time, and outline the current knowledge on the expected patterns of disability accrual and outcomes. We also discuss the potential implications of these observations for patient management and counseling.
- myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein (MOG) antibody associated disease
- neuromyelitis optica (NMO)
- progressive MS
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology