Magnetization transfer ratio of the spinal cord in multiple sclerosis: Relationship to atrophy and neurologic disability

G.J. Lycklama à Nijeholt, J.A. Castelijns, R.H.C. Lazeron, J.H.T.M. van Waesberghe, C.H. Polman, B.M.J. Uitdehaag, F. Barkhof

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40 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The authors compare the spinal cord magnetization transfer ratio (MTR) of multiple sclerosis (MS) patients to healthy volunteers, relate MTR to spinal cord atrophy, and relate these and other magnetic resonance (MR) imaging parameters to disability. Sixty-five patients with MS (14 relapsing remitting [RR], 34 secondary progressive [SP], and 17 primary progressive [PP] MS), and 9 healthy volunteers were studied using MR at 1.0 T. Disability of the patients was assessed using the expanded disability status scale (EDSS). Magnetic resonance parameters were upper spinal cord MTR, number of focal spinal lesions, presence of diffuse abnormalities, and spinal cord cross-sectional area (CSA). Correlations were assessed using Spearman's rank correlation coefficient (r). Magnetization transfer ratio was higher in the controls (median, 33%; range, 30%-38%) than in patients with MS (median, 30%; range, 16-36; p <0.05). In patients with MS, EDSS correlated with spinal cord MTR, albeit weakly (r = -0.25, p <0.05). Correlation between EDSS and spinal cord CSA was better (SRCC = -0.40, p <0.01). No correlation was found between MTR and CSA (r = 0.1, p = 0.4). Combining MTR with spinal cord CSA improved correlation with EDSS (r = -0.46, p <0.001), suggesting an independent correlation between disability and these 2 MR parameters. Expanded disability status scale scores were higher in patients who had diffuse spinal cord abnormality regardless of focal lesions (median, 6; range, 1.5-7.5) than in patients without diffuse abnormalities (median, 3.5; range, 0-8; p <0.01). CSA was lower in patients with diffuse spinal cord abnormality (median, 62; range, 46-89 mm2) than in patients without diffuse abnormalities (median, 73; range, 47-89 mm2; p <0.01). MTR was slightly lower in patients with diffuse spinal cord abnormalities (median, 29; range, 21%-33%) than in patients without diffuse abnormalities (median, 31; range, 16-36; t-test, p <0.05).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)67-72
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Neuroimaging
Volume10
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Magnetic transfer ratios
  • MRI
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Spinal cord

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