Publication date: Jun 07, 2019
In patients with MS, the effect of structural damage to the corticospinal tract (CST) has been separately evaluated in the brain and spinal cord (SC), even though a cumulative impact is suspected.
To evaluate CST damages on both the cortex and cervical SC, and examine their relative associations with motor function, measured both clinically and by electrophysiology.
We included 43 patients with early relapsing-remitting MS. Lesions were manually segmented on SC (axial T2*) and brain (3D FLAIR) scans. The CST was automatically segmented using an atlas (SC) or tractography (brain). Lesion volume fractions and diffusion parameters were calculated for SC, brain and CST. Central motor conduction time (CMCT) and triple stimulation technique amplitude ratio were measured for 42 upper limbs, from 22 patients.
Mean lesion volume fractions were 5.2% in the SC portion of the CST and 0.9% in the brain portion. We did not find a significant correlation between brain and SC lesion volume fraction (r = 0.06, p = 0.68). The pyramidal EDSS score and CMCT were both significantly correlated with the lesion fraction in the SC CST (r = 0.39, p = 0.01 and r = 0.33, p = 0.03), but not in the brain CST.
Our results highlight the major contribution of SC lesions to CST damage and motor function abnormalities.
Chouteau, R., Comb`es, B., Bannier, E., Snoussi, H., Ferr’e, J.C., Barillot, C., Edan, G., Sauleau, P., and Kerbrat, A. Joint assessment of brain and spinal cord motor tract damage in patients with early RRMS: predominant impact of spinal cord lesions on motor function. 18279. 2019 J Neurol.
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