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Abstract #3406

Tract-specific q-space imaging of the cervical cord demonstrates early axonal damage in primary progressive multiple sclerosis

Khaled Abdel-Aziz 1 , Torben Schneider 1 , Marios C Yiannakas 1 , Daniel Altmann 1 , Claudia A.M Wheeler-Kingshott 1 , Amy L Peters 2 , Brian L Day 2 , Alan J Thompson 1,3 , and Olga Ciccarelli 1,3

1 NMR Research Unit, Queen Square MS Centre, UCL institute of neurology, London, Greater London, United Kingdom, 2 Sobell Department, UCL institute of neurology, London, Greater London, United Kingdom, 3 NIHR UCLH-UCL Biomedical Research Centre (BRC), London, United Kingdom

Q-space imaging (QSI) is a model free diffusion weighted imaging technique sensitive to changes within lesions and normal appearing white matter in multiple sclerosis. By applying tract-specific QSI to the cervical spinal cord of patients with early primary progressive multiple sclerosis (PPMS) we have demonstrated increased perpendicular diffusion in the cervical cord suggesting the loss of axons and/or myelin barriers to diffusion in the perpendicular direction. These changes correlated with clinical scales of disability. Our results suggest spinal cord QSI is a sensitive method for detecting early pathological changes in early PPMS that are associated with clinical disability

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