Longitudinal assessment of cervical spinal cord compartments in multiple sclerosis

Charidimos Tsagkas, Antal Huck-Horvath, Alessandro Cagol, Tanja Haas, Michael Amann, Muhamed Barakovic, Esther Ruberte, Lester Melie-Garcia, Matthias Weigel, Simon Pezold, Regina Schlaeger, Jens Kuhle, Till Sprenger, Ludwig Kappos, Oliver Bieri, Philippe Cattin, Cristina Granziera, Katrin Parmar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background: Although cervical spinal cord (cSC) area is an established biomarker in MS, there is currently a lack of longitudinal assessments of cSC gray and white matter areas. Objective: We conducted an explorative analysis of longitudinal changes of cSC gray and white matter areas in MS patients. Methods: 65 MS patients (33 relapsing-remitting; 20 secondary progressive and 12 primary progressive) and 20 healthy controls (HC) received clinical and upper cSC MRI assessments over 1.10±0.28 years. cSC compartments were quantified on MRI using the novel averaged magnetization inversion recovery acquisitions sequence (in-plane resolution=0.67 × 0.67mm2), and in-house developed post-processing methods. Patients were stratified regarding clinical progression. Results: Patients with clinical progression showed faster reduction of cSC areas over time at the level of cSC enlargement (approximate vertebral level C4-C5) compared to stable patients (p<0.05). In addition, when compared to the rostral-cSC (approximate vertebral level C2-C3), a preferential reduction of cSC and white matter areas over time at the level of cSC enlargement (p<0.05 and p<0.01, respectively) was demonstrated only in patients with clinical progression, but not in stable MS patients and HC. Compared to HC, MS patients showed comparable changes over time in all cSC compartments. Conclusions: MS patients with clinical disease progression demonstrate subtle signs of a more pronounced tissue loss at the level of cSC enlargement. Future studies should consider larger sample sizes and more extended observation periods.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104545
JournalMultiple Sclerosis and Related Disorders
StatePublished - Mar 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • Atrophy
  • Biomarkers
  • MRI
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Neurodegeneration
  • Spinal cord


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