MRI shows dorsal lesions and spinal cord atrophy in chronic sensory neuronopathies

J Neuroimaging. 2008 Apr;18(2):168-72. doi: 10.1111/j.1552-6569.2007.00193.x.


Background and purpose: Sensory neuronopathies (SN) represent a specific subgroup of peripheral nervous system diseases, characterized by degeneration of dorsal root ganglia (DRG) and its projections. We tried to estimate the frequency and extent of spinal cord MRI abnormalities in a group of patients with SN and correlate these with clinical and neurophysiological features.

Methods: We performed spinal cord MRI scans in 16 chronic SN patients. Images were analyzed for the presence of posterior hyperintense lesions on T2WI and cord areas at C3 level were obtained using a previously validated method. A group of 14 healthy controls with similar age and gender distribution was used for comparison. ANOVA was employed for statistical analysis.

Results: Posterior T2WI lesions were found in 13 out of 16 patients. Cord areas were significantly smaller in SN patients than controls (84.3 x 97.2 mm(2), P < .05). Atrophy correlated with severity of sensory ataxia and neurophysiologic abnormalities but not with duration of disease.

Conclusions: These findings support volumetric spinal cord MRI as a useful tool in the assessment of chronic SN.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Analysis of Variance
  • Atrophy
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Chronic Disease
  • Female
  • Hereditary Sensory and Autonomic Neuropathies / pathology*
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Linear Models
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Spinal Cord / pathology*