Objective: To investigate the longitudinal spinal cord and brain changes in neuromyelitis optica (NMO) and multiple sclerosis (MS) and their associations with disability progression. Patients and methods: We recruited 28 NMO, 22 MS, and 20 healthy controls (HC), who underwent both spinal cord and brain MRI at baseline. Twenty-five NMO and 20 MS completed 1-year follow-up. Baseline spinal cord and brain lesion loads, mean upper cervical cord area (MUCCA), brain, and thalamus volume and their changes during a 1-year follow-up were measured and compared between groups. All the measurements were also compared between progressive and non-progressive groups in NMO and MS. Results: MUCCA decreased significantly during the 1-year follow-up in NMO not in MS. Percentage brain volume changes (PBVC) and thalamus volume changes in MS were significantly higher than NMO. MUCCA changes were significantly different between progressive and non-progressive groups in NMO, while baseline brain lesion volume and PBVC were associated with disability progression in MS. MUCCA changes during 1-year follow-up showed association with clinical disability in NMO. Conclusion: Spinal cord atrophy changes were associated with disability progression in NMO, while baseline brain lesion load and whole brain atrophy changes were related to disability progression in MS. Key Points: • Spinal cord atrophy progression was observed in NMO.• Spinal cord atrophy changes were associated with disability progression in NMO.• Brain lesion and atrophy were related to disability progression in MS.
- Mean upper cervical cord area
- Multiple sclerosis
- Neuromyelitis optica