Modifications of longitudinally extensive transverse myelitis and brainstem lesions in the course of neuromyelitis optica (NMO): A population-based, descriptive study

BMC Neurology (Impact Factor: 2.04). 04/2013; 13(1):33. DOI: 10.1186/1471-2377-13-33
Source: PubMed


Neuromyelitis optica (NMO) includes transverse myelitis, optic neuritis and brain lesions. Recent studies have indicated that the brainstem is an important site of attack in NMO. Longitudinally extensive transverse myelitis (LETM) is an important component of the clinical diagnosis of NMO. The frequency of brainstem and LETM lesions, changes over time of LETM and the clinical consequences in the course of NMO have only been sparsely studied.
The study was a population-based retrospective case series with clinical and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) follow-up of 35 patients with definite NMO and a relapsing-remitting course.
Brainstem lesions were observed in 25 patients, 18 in medulla oblongata (11 in area postrema). Lesions in the pons, mesencephalon and diencephalon occurred in 10, 7 and 7 patients, respectively. Lesions were symptomatic in medulla oblongata and pons, asymptomatic in mesencephalon and diencephalon. Brainstem lesions were observed significantly more often in anti-aquaporin-4 (AQP-4) antibody positive than in seronegative patients (p < 0.002).
LETM was demonstrated by MRI of the spinal cord in 30/36 patients, 23/30 of whom had follow-up MRI of the spinal cord. Recurrent LETM was observed in five patients. In nine patients the LETM changed into multiple lesions during remission or treatment. Spinal cord atrophy was observed in 12/23 (52%) patients, correlating to Expanded Disability Status Scale (r = 0.88, p < 0.001).
NMO patients had frequent occurrence of brainstem lesions and LETM. Brainstem lesions were associated with anti-AQP4 antibody positivity. LETM lesions differentiated over time and the outcome included relapses, fragmentation and atrophy. Correlation was observed between spinal cord atrophy and neurological disability.

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    • "Recently involvement of the brain has also been shown [4]. Brain lesions are localized in areas where AQP4 expression is high, and where blood-brain barrier is absent [4]. When the brain is involved, a complex and heterogenous picture characterized by endocrinopathy, posterior reversible encephalopathy, and brain stem signs occur, making the diagnosis difficult. "
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    DESCRIPTION: Relaps of NMDA Encephalitis Superimposed Upon Neuromiyelitis Optica.
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    ABSTRACT: Neuromyelitis optica (NMO) is a disease distinct from multiple sclerosis in terms of clinical and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) manifestations. Antibody to aquaporin-4 (AQP4) has been identified as a specific biomarker and part of the diagnostic criteria for NMO. Although it is relatively common in Asia, a comprehensive clinical and imaging evaluation of NMO has not been reported in Chinese patients. Here, we reviewed data from 57 Chinese cases. The patients had an obvious female preponderance (female/male = 8.5:1), and transverse myelitis (82.5%) and optic neuritis (56.1%) were the most common manifestations. In MRI, longitudinally extensive transverse myelitis (6.9 ± 2.3 segments) dominated the spinal cord lesions, which were mainly (69.7%) distributed in cervical and thoracic cord. However, the length of the lesions was not correlated with onset age, paralysis severity, relapse rate, or duration. Among 29 patients who underwent AQP4 antibody assay, 17 (58.6%) were positive. There was no difference between seropositive and seronegative patients in terms of female preponderance, onset age, relapse rate, and Expanded Disability Status Scale score. However, seropositive patients had significantly more damaged segments (8.3 ± 3.5) than did seronegative patients (4.5 ± 1.6) (p < 0.001). The data revealed the clinical and MRI characteristics and AQP4 antibody status of NMO in Chinese patients and the correlations between them, which may have important implications for the diagnosis of the disease. © 2013 S. Karger AG, Basel.
    European Neurology 11/2013; 71(1-2):35-41. DOI:10.1159/000353983 · 1.36 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Brainstem involvement, especially the medulla oblongata (MO), has been reported in neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorders (NMOSDs). The purpose of this study was to investigate retrospectively and compare clinical, laboratory, and imaging features of NMOSDs with and without MO lesions. A total of 170 patients with NMOSDs were enrolled, including 44 patients with MO lesions and 126 patients without MO lesions. Clinical features, laboratory tests, and magnetic resonance imaging findings among these patients were assessed. MO lesions were found in 25.9 % of the NMOSDs patients. The mean duration was 13 months. Patients with MO lesions had a higher Annualized relapse rate and Expanded Disability Status Score Scale. Headache, dizziness, nystagmus, dysarthria, intractable hiccup and nausea, choking cough or dysphagia, movement disorders, and neuropathic pain were more common in MO lesion patients. Patients with MO lesions were more frequently complicated with thyroid diseases. Multiple brain involvement, More importantly, Longitudinally extensive transverse myelitis were more frequently found in patients with MO lesions. MO lesions might be a symbol of more severe neurologic deficits and worse prognosis of NMOSDs.
    Journal of Neurology 03/2014; 261(5). DOI:10.1007/s00415-014-7298-7 · 3.38 Impact Factor
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