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Abstract #2872

MRI investigation of neurodegeneration in subacute SCI and its relation to functional outcome

Gergely David1, Markus Hupp1, Kevin Vallotton1, Jan Rosner1, Tim Emmenegger1, Silja Huwyler1, Maryam Seif1, Armin Curt1, and Patrick Freund1,2,3

1Spinal Cord Injury Center Balgrist, University Hospital Zurich, University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland, 2Department of Neurophysics, Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Leipzig, Germany, 3Wellcome Trust Centre for Neuroimaging, UCL Institute of Neurology, London, United Kingdom

In this study, for the first time, we performed voxel- and atlas-based DTI analysis along with high-resolution T2*-weighted imaging in subacute spinal cord injury (SCI) to investigate early micro- and macrostructural changes remote from the injury at C2/C3. Thereby, we aimed to test the predictive ability of early tract-specific degeneration for the chronic functional outcome. DTI and tissue area measurements between SCI patients and controls revealed demyelination in the dorsal columns, indicative of early anterograde degeneration of sensory tracts. Importantly, these early microstructural changes predicted 1-year functional recovery, demonstrating the clinical eloquence of early DTI measurements as a prognostic tool.

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