Journal of the neurological sciences 2017 08 23381() 135-140 pii 10.1016/j.jns.2017.08.3243
To evaluate the spinal cord atrophy that occurs in HTLV-1-associated myelopathy/tropical spastic paraparesis (HAM/TSP), we conducted magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and pathological analyses. In the MRI study, 15 patients with HAM/TSP and 20 age-matched normal control subjects were enrolled. Anteroposterior and transverse distances and cross-sectional areas were measured and calculated at the C2, C4, C6, T2, and T6 vertebral levels. In the pathological study, spinal cord autopsy specimens were compared between a HAM/TSP case and an adult T cell leukemia/lymphoma case. In both the MRI and pathological studies, HAM/TSP spinal cords demonstrated more severe atrophy in the anteroposterior direction than those of controls. The spinal cord atrophy and pathological changes in HAM/TSP occurred predominantly in the white matter, especially in the lateral columns. This is the first report indicating spinal cord atrophy in the anteroposterior direction using MRI. In pathological analysis, atrophy and pathological changes were prominent in areas of the spinal cord with slow blood flow. Hemodynamic and anatomical factors are speculated to be among the main mechanisms of atrophy in the anteroposterior direction.