African Americans experience disproportionate neurodegenerative changes in the medulla and upper cervical spinal cord in early multiple sclerosis

Tatum M. Moog, Morgan McCreary, Thomas Stanley, Andrew Wilson, Jose Santoyo, Katy Wright, Mandy D. Winkler, Yeqi Wang, Frank Yu, Braeden D. Newton, Burcu Zeydan, Orhun Kantarci, Xiaohu Guo, Darin T. Okuda

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Objective: To compare the temporal changes in the 3-dimensional (3D) structure of the medulla-upper cervical spinal cord region in African American (AA) and white multiple sclerosis (MS) patients to identify early patterns of anatomical change prior to progressive symptom development. Methods: Standardized 3-Tesla 3D brain MRI studies were performed at two time points on AA and white MS patients along with controls. Longitudinal changes in volume, surface area, tissue compliance, and surface texture measured in total and within ventral and dorsal compartments were studied. Independent regression models were constructed to evaluate differences between groups. Results: Thirty-five individuals were studied, 10 AA with MS (female (F): 8; median age [IQR]=33.8 years (y) [10.9], median disease duration: 11.8y [11.3]), 20 white MS patients (F: 10; 35.6y [17.4], 7.23y [8.83], and 5 controls (F: 2, 51.8y [10.2]). Expanded Disability Status Scale scores were 0.0 at baseline and at the second MRI time point. Within the medulla-upper cervical spinal cord, AA versus white MS patients exhibited greater rates of atrophy in total (p<0.0001) and within the ventral (p<0.0001) and dorsal (p<0.0001) compartments, reduced surface area (p<0.0001), and reduced tissue compliance in the ventral (p=0.002) and dorsal (p=0.0005) compartments. The rate of change at the dorsal surface, but not the ventral surface, between MRI time points was also greater in AA relative to white MS patients (p<0.0001). Conclusion: Structural changes in distinct anatomical regions of the medulla-upper cervical spinal cord may be reflective of early and disproportionate neurodegeneration in AA MS as compared to whites.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number102429
JournalMultiple Sclerosis and Related Disorders
Volume45
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2020

Keywords

  • 3D, Medulla
  • African American
  • Cervical spine
  • MRI
  • Multiple sclerosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology

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    Moog, T. M., McCreary, M., Stanley, T., Wilson, A., Santoyo, J., Wright, K., Winkler, M. D., Wang, Y., Yu, F., Newton, B. D., Zeydan, B., Kantarci, O., Guo, X., & Okuda, D. T. (2020). African Americans experience disproportionate neurodegenerative changes in the medulla and upper cervical spinal cord in early multiple sclerosis. Multiple Sclerosis and Related Disorders, 45, [102429]. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.msard.2020.102429