Application of Quantitative Microstructural MR Imaging with Atlas-based Analysis for the Spinal Cord in Cervical Spondylotic Myelopathy

Sci Rep. 2018 Mar 26;8(1):5213. doi: 10.1038/s41598-018-23527-8.


Mapping of MR fiber g-ratio, which is the ratio of the diameter of the axon to the diameter of the neuronal fiber, is introduced in this article. We investigated the MR fiber g-ratio, the axon volume fraction (AVF) and the myelin volume fraction (MVF) to evaluate microstructural changes in the spinal cord in patients with cervical spondylotic myelopathy (CSM) in vivo, using atlas-based analysis. We used diffusion MRI data acquired with a new simultaneous multi-slice accelerated readout-segmented echo planar imaging sequence for diffusion analysis for AVF calculation and magnetization transfer saturation imaging for MVF calculation. The AVFs of fasciculus gracilis in the affected side spinal cord, fasciculus cuneatus and lateral corticospinal tracts (LSCT) in the affected and unaffected side spinal cord were significantly lower (P = 0.019, 0.001, 0019, 0.000, and 0.002, respectively) than those of normal controls. No difference was found in the MVFs. The fiber g-ratio of LSCT was significantly lower (P = 0.040) in the affected side spinal cords than in the normal controls. The pathological microstructural changes in the spinal cord in patients with CSM, presumably partial axonal degenerations with preserved myelin. This technique has the potential to be a clinical biomarker in patients with CSM in vivo.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Axons / pathology
  • Cervical Vertebrae / diagnostic imaging*
  • Cervical Vertebrae / physiopathology
  • Diffusion Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Diffusion Tensor Imaging
  • Echo-Planar Imaging
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Myelin Sheath / pathology
  • Spinal Cord / diagnostic imaging*
  • Spinal Cord / physiopathology
  • Spinal Cord Compression / diagnostic imaging
  • Spinal Cord Compression / physiopathology
  • Spinal Cord Diseases / diagnostic imaging*
  • Spinal Cord Diseases / physiopathology
  • Spondylosis / diagnostic imaging*
  • Spondylosis / pathology
  • Spondylosis / physiopathology
  • White Matter / diagnostic imaging