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Contrasting the brain imaging features of MOG-antibody disease, with AQP4-antibody NMOSD and multiple sclerosis

Silvia Messina, Romina Mariano, Adriana Roca-Fernandez, Ana Cavey, Maciej Jurynczyk, Maria Isabel Leite, Massimiliano Calabrese, Mark Jenkinson, Jacqueline Palace

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PMID: 34048323 DOI: 10.1177/13524585211018987


Background: Identifying magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) markers in myelin-oligodendrocytes-glycoprotein antibody-associated disease (MOGAD), neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder-aquaporin-4 positive (NMOSD-AQP4) and multiple sclerosis (MS) is essential for establishing objective outcome measures.

Objectives: To quantify imaging patterns of central nervous system (CNS) damage in MOGAD during the remission stage, and to compare it with NMOSD-AQP4 and MS.

Methods: 20 MOGAD, 19 NMOSD-AQP4, 18 MS in remission with brain or spinal cord involvement and 18 healthy controls (HC) were recruited. Volumetrics, lesions and cortical lesions, diffusion-imaging measures, were analysed.

Results: Deep grey matter volumes were lower in MOGAD (p = 0.02) and MS (p = 0.0001), compared to HC and were strongly correlated with current lesion volume (MOGAD R = -0.93, p < 0.001, MS R = -0.65, p = 0.0034). Cortical/juxtacortical lesions were seen in a minority of MOGAD, in a majority of MS and in none of NMOSD-AQP4. Non-lesional tissue fractional anisotropy (FA) was only reduced in MS (p = 0.01), although focal reductions were noted in NMOSD-AQP4, reflecting mainly optic nerve and corticospinal tract pathways.

Conclusion: MOGAD patients are left with grey matter damage, and this may be related to persistent white matter lesions. NMOSD-AQP4 patients showed a relative sparing of deep grey matter volumes, but reduced non-lesional tissue FA. Observations from our study can be used to identify new markers of damage for future multicentre studies.

Keywords: MOG-Ab disease; MRI; Multiple sclerosis; neuromyelitis optica with AQP4-Ab; non-conventional MRI.