Background and purpose: The cervical and thoracic cross-sectional spinal cord area (CS-SCA) in multiple sclerosis (MS) correlates with disability, whilst such a correlation remains to be established in neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder (NMOSD). Our aim was to clarify differences between MS and NMOSD in spinal cord segments where CS-SCA is associated with disability. Methods: The CS-SCA at C2/C3, C3/C4, T8/T9 and T9/T10 vertebral disc levels was measured in 140 MS patients (111 with relapsing–remitting MS and 29 with progressive MS) and 42 NMOSD patients with anti-aquaporin-4 immunoglobulin G. Disability was evaluated by Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) scores. Multivariate associations between CS-SCA and disability were assessed by stepwise forward multiple linear regression. Results: Thoracic CS-SCA was significantly smaller in NMOSD patients than in MS patients even after adjusting for age, sex and disease duration (P = 0.002 at T8/T9), whilst there was no difference in cervical CS-SCA between the two diseases. Cervical and thoracic CS-SCA had a negative correlation with EDSS scores in MS patients (P < 0.0001 at C3/C4 and P = 0.0002 at T8/T9) whereas only thoracic CS-SCA correlated with EDSS scores in NMOSD patients (P = 0.0006 at T8/T9). By multiple regression analyses, predictive factors for disability in MS were smaller cervical CS-SCA, progressive course, older age and a higher number of relapses, whilst those in NMOSD were smaller thoracic CS-SCA and older age. Conclusions: Thoracic CS-SCA is a useful predictive marker for disability in patients with NMOSD whilst cervical CS-SCA is associated with disability in patients with MS.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Clinical Neurology