Cervical spondylotic myelopathy: Metabolite changes in the primary motor cortex after surgery

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Purpose: To characterize longitudinal metabolite alterations in the motor cortex of patients with cervical spondylotic myelopathy (CSM) by using proton magnetic resonance (MR) spectroscopy and to evaluate white matter integrity with diffusion-Tensor imaging in patients who are recovering neurologic function after decompression surgery. Materials and Methods: Informed written consent was obtained for all procedures and the study was approved by Western University's Health Sciences Research Ethics Board. Twentyeight patients with CSM and 10 healthy control subjects were prospectively recruited and underwent two separate 3-T MR imaging examinations 6 months apart. Patients with CSM underwent surgery after the first examination. N-Acetylaspartate (NAA), an indicator of neuronal mitochondrial function, normalized to creatine (Cr) levels were measured from the motor cortex contralateral to the greater functional deficit side in the patient group and on both sides in the control group. Fractional anisotropy and mean diffusivity were measured by means of diffusiontensor imaging in the white matter adjacent to the motor and sensory cortices of the hand and the entire cerebral white matter. Clinical data were analyzed by using Student t tests. Results: In patients with CSM, NAA normalized to Cr (NAA/Cr) levels were significantly lower 6 months after surgery (1.48 6 0.08; P , .03) compared with preoperative levels (1.73 6 0.09), despite significant improvement in clinical questionnaire scores. Fractional anisotropy and mean diffusivity were the same (P . .05) between the patient and control groups in all measured regions at all time points. Conclusion: NAA/Cr levels decreased in the motor cortex in patients with CSM 6 months after successful surgery. Intact white matter integrity with decreased NAA/Cr levels suggests that mitochondrial metabolic dysfunction persists after surgery. q RSNA, 2016.

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