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Magnetic resonance spectroscopy investigation in the right human hippocampus following spinal cord injury

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Freund,  Patrick       
Balgrist Spinal Cord Injury Center, Balgrist University Hospital, Zürich, Switzerland;
Department Neurophysics (Weiskopf), MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;

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Seif,  Maryam
Balgrist Spinal Cord Injury Center, Balgrist University Hospital, Zürich, Switzerland;
Department Neurophysics (Weiskopf), MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

Pfyffer, D., Zimmermann, S., Şimşek, K., Kreis, R., Freund, P., & Seif, M. (2023). Magnetic resonance spectroscopy investigation in the right human hippocampus following spinal cord injury. Frontiers in Neurology, 14: 1120227. doi:10.3389/fneur.2023.1120227.


Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-000D-4036-E
Abstract


Objective: Preclinical studies have shown that cognitive impairments following spinal cord injury (SCI), such as impaired spatial memory, are linked to inflammation, neurodegeneration, and reduced neurogenesis in the right hippocampus. This cross-sectional study aims to characterize metabolic and macrostructural changes in the right hippocampus and their association to cognitive function in traumatic SCI patients.

Methods: Within this cross-sectional study, cognitive function was assessed in 28 chronic traumatic SCI patients and 18 age-, sex-, and education-matched healthy controls by a visuospatial and verbal memory test. A magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) and structural MRI protocol was performed in the right hippocampus of both groups to quantify metabolic concentrations and hippocampal volume, respectively. Group comparisons investigated changes between SCI patients and healthy controls and correlation analyses investigated their relationship to memory performance.

Results: Memory performance was similar in SCI patients and healthy controls. The quality of the recorded MR spectra was excellent in comparison to the best-practice reports for the hippocampus. Metabolite concentrations and volume of the hippocampus measured based on MRS and MRI were not different between two groups. Memory performance in SCI patients and healthy controls was not correlated with metabolic or structural measures.

Conclusion: This study suggests that the hippocampus may not be pathologically affected at a functional, metabolic, and macrostructural level in chronic SCI. This points toward the absence of significant and clinically relevant trauma-induced neurodegeneration in the hippocampus.