Impaired Brain Growth in Myelin Oligodendrocyte Glycoprotein Antibody–Associated Acute Disseminated Encephalomyelitis

Frederik Bartels, Birgit Baumgartner, Annette Aigner, Graham Cooper,
Astrid Blaschek, Eva Maria Wendel, Annikki Bertolini, Michael Karenfort, Matthias Baumann, Robert Cleaveland, Andreas Wegener-Panzer, MD, Steffen Leiz, Michela Salandin, Peter Krieg, Tobias Reindl, Markus Reindl, Carsten Finke and Kevin Rostásy

Background and Objectives

Acute disseminated encephalomyelitis (ADEM) is the most common phenotype in pediatric myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein (MOG) antibody–associated disease. A previous study demonstrated impaired brain growth in ADEM. However, the effect of MOG antibodies on brain growth remains unknown. Here, we performed brain volume analyses in MOG-positive and MOG-negative ADEM at onset and over time.


In this observational cohort study, we included a total of 62 MRI scans from 24 patients with ADEM (54.2% female; median age 5 years), of which 16 (66.7%) were MOG positive. Patients were compared with healthy controls from the NIH pediatric MRI data repository and a matched local cohort. Mixed-effect models were applied to assess group differences and other relevant factors, including relapses.


At baseline and before any steroid treatment, patients with ADEM, irrespective of MOG antibody status, showed reduced brain volume compared with matched controls (median [interquartile range] 1,741.9 cm3 [1,645.1–1,805.2] vs 1,810.4 cm3 [1,786.5–1,836.2]). Lon- gitudinal analysis revealed reduced brain growth for both MOG-positive and MOG-negative patients with ADEM. However, MOG-negative patients showed a stronger reduction (−138.3 cm3 [95% CI −193.6 to −82.9]) than MOG-positive patients (−50.0 cm3 [−126.5 to −5.2]), independent of age, sex, and treatment. Relapsing patients (all MOG positive) showed addi- tional brain volume loss (−15.8 cm3 [−68.9 to 37.3]).


Patients with ADEM exhibit brain volume loss and failure of age-expected brain growth. Importantly, MOG-negative status was associated with a more pronounced brain volume loss compared with MOG-positive patients.

Neuroimmunol Neuroinflamm. 10(2):e200066 (2023)


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