Chi Sun, Shuyi Zhou, Zhongyi Cui, Yuxuan Zhang, Hongli Wang, Jianyuan Jiang, Feizhou Lu, Xiaosheng Ma

August 2019, Volume 28, Issue 8, pp 1872 - 1878 Original Article Read Full Article 10.1007/s00586-019-06013-1

First Online: 20 May 2019

The evaluation on neural status of cervical spinal cord in normal and Hirayama disease using diffusion tensor imaging


To explore the changes in diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) parameters in cervical spinal cord in Hirayama disease (HD) patients and healthy volunteers and to compare these parameters between cervical flexion and neutral positions in HD patients.


Seventeen male patients with HD and eleven healthy young males were included to receive DTI scans in cervical flexion and neutral positions. The FA and ADC values of different levels were measured based on the region of interest drawn on the mid-sagittal plane. The dynamic compressed level’s parameters were defined as the lowest and the second lowest FA and the highest and the second highest ADC, respectively. The clinical assessment of patients was obtained using their disabilities of the arm, shoulder and hand (DASH) scores.


For the HD patients, the FA values in the cervical flexion position were lower and the ADC values were much higher than those in the cervical neutral position. Compared with the controls, the ADC values were significantly higher in the lower levels (C5/6-C7/T1) and the FA values obviously lower at C7/T1 in HD patients in cervical neutral position. The FA and ADC values of the dynamic compressed level in HD patients deviated significantly from the average of the lower levels in controls. Both the FA and ADC values of the dynamic compressed level correlated with the DASH scores (FA, R 2 = 0.520, P = 0.001; ADC, R 2 = 0.421, P = 0.005).


DTI parameters can support a hypothesis of dynamic cervical flexion compression and noninvasively reveal the neural status of HD patients.

Graphical abstract

These slides can be retrieved under Electronic Supplementary Material.[Figure not available: see fulltext.]

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