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ACTRIMS 2023 | Myelin abnormalities in the cervical spinal cord associated with clinical disability in MS subtypes

Lisa Eunyoung Lee, PhD student, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada, shares findings from a study assessing the tissue microstructural abnormalities in the cervical spinal cord and evaluating their relationship with clinical outcomes across different multiple sclerosis (MS) subtypes. The study included people with radiologically isolated syndrome (RIS), relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS), primary progressive MS (PPMS), and controls. 3D gradient echo sequences with and without magnetization transfer (MT) saturation pulses were acquired. Results showed consistent group differences in the MT ratio in the cervical cord, most pronounced between PPMS and controls. Also, lower MT ratio, indicative of reduced myelin, correlated with greater clinical disability affecting ambulation, finger dexterity, and global disability. They also found that there were structural and functional correlations, including the relationship between dorsal columns and Manual Dexterity Test and lateral columns and Walking Speed Test. Ongoing studies are looking at MT ratio changes over time to better understand the core pathology contributing to disease progression in ms. This interview took place at the Americas Committee for Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis (ACTRIMS) Forum 2023 in San Diego, CA.

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L. Lee is supported by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research – Canada Graduate Scholarships Doctoral Award.