Regional spinal cord volumes and pain profiles in AQP4-IgG + NMOSD and MOGAD


  • S. Asseyer
  • O. Zmira
  • L. Busse
  • B. Pflantzer
  • P. Schindler
  • T. Schmitz-Hübsch
  • F. Paul
  • C. Chien


  • Frontiers in Neurology


  • Front Neurol 15: 1308498


  • OBJECTIVE: Aquaporin-4-antibody-seropositive (AQP4-IgG+) Neuromyelitis Optica Spectrum Disorder (NMOSD) and Myelin Oligodendrocyte Glycoprotein Antibody-Associated Disorder (MOGAD) are relapsing neuroinflammatory diseases, frequently leading to chronic pain. In both diseases, the spinal cord (SC) is often affected by myelitis attacks. We hypothesized that regional SC volumes differ between AQP4-IgG + NMOSD and MOGAD and that pain intensity is associated with lower SC volumes. To evaluate changes in the SC white matter (WM), gray matter (GM), and pain intensity in patients with recent relapses (myelitis or optic neuritis), we further profiled phenotypes in a case series with longitudinal imaging and clinical data. METHODS: Cross-sectional data from 36 participants were analyzed in this retrospective study, including 20 AQP4-IgG + NMOSD and 16 MOGAD patients. Pain assessment was performed in all patients by the Brief Pain Inventory and painDETECT questionnaires. Segmentation of SC WM, GM, cervical cord volumes (combined volume of WM + GM) was performed at the C2/C3 cervical level. WM% and GM% were calculated using the cervical cord volume as a whole per patient. The presence of pain, pain severity, and clinical disability was evaluated and tested for associations with SC segmentations. Additionally, longitudinal data were deeply profiled in a case series of four patients with attacks between two MRI visits within one year. RESULTS: In AQP4-IgG + NMOSD, cervical cord volume was associated with mean pain severity within 24 h (ß = -0.62, p = 0.009) and with daily life pain interference (ß = -0.56, p = 0.010). Cross-sectional analysis showed no statistically significant SC volume differences between AQP4-IgG + NMOSD and MOGAD. However, in AQP4-IgG + NMOSD, SC WM% tended to be lower with increasing time from the last attack (ß = -0.41, p = 0.096). This tendency was not observed in MOGAD. Our case series including two AQP4-IgG + NMOSD patients revealed SC GM% increased by roughly 2% with either a myelitis or optic neuritis attack between visits. Meanwhile, GM% decreased by 1–2% in two MOGAD patients with a myelitis attack between MRI visits. CONCLUSION: In AQP4-IgG + NMOSD, lower cervical cord volume was associated with increased pain. Furthermore, cord GM changes were detected between MRI visits in patients with disease-related attacks in both groups. Regional SC MRI measures are pertinent for monitoring disease-related cord pathology in AQP4-IgG + NMOSD and MOGAD.