Relationships Between Retinal Axonal and Neuronal Measures and Global Central Nervous System Pathology in Multiple Sclerosis

JAMA neurology 01/2013; 70(1):34-43. DOI: 10.1001/jamaneurol.2013.573
Source: PubMed


OBJECTIVE To determine the relationships between conventional and segmentation-derived optical coherence tomography (OCT) retinal layer thickness measures with intracranial volume (a surrogate of head size) and brain substructure volumes in multiple sclerosis (MS). DESIGN Cross-sectional study. SETTING Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland. PARTICIPANTS A total of 84 patients with MS and 24 healthy control subjects. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES High-definition spectral-domain OCT conventional and automated segmentation-derived discrete retinal layer thicknesses and 3-T magnetic resonance imaging brain substructure volumes. RESULTS Peripapillary retinal nerve fiber layer as well as composite ganglion cell layer + inner plexiform layer thicknesses in the eyes of patients with MS without a history of optic neuritis were associated with cortical gray matter (P = .01 and P = .04, respectively) and caudate (P = .04 and P = .03, respectively) volumes. Inner nuclear layer thickness, also in eyes without a history of optic neuritis, was associated with fluid-attenuated inversion recovery lesion volume (P = .007) and inversely associated with normal-appearing white matter volume (P = .005) in relapsing-remitting MS. As intracranial volume was found to be related with several of the OCT measures in patients with MS and healthy control subjects and is already known to be associated with brain substructure volumes, all OCT-brain substructure relationships were adjusted for intracranial volume. CONCLUSIONS Retinal measures reflect global central nervous system pathology in multiple sclerosis, with thicknesses of discrete retinal layers each appearing to be associated with distinct central nervous system processes. Moreover, OCT measures appear to correlate with intracranial volume in patients with MS and healthy control subjects, an important unexpected factor unaccounted for in prior studies examining the relationships between peripapillary retinal nerve fiber layer thickness and brain substructure volumes.

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    ABSTRACT: Microcystic macular oedema (MMO) of the retinal inner nuclear layer (INL) has been identified in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) by use of optical coherence tomography (OCT). We aimed to determine whether MMO of the INL, and increased thickness of the INL are associated with disease activity or disability progression. This retrospective study was done at the Johns Hopkins Hospital (Baltimore, MD, USA), between September, 2008, and March, 2012. Patients with MS and healthy controls underwent serial OCT scans and clinical assessments including visual function. OCT scanning, including automated intraretinal layer segmentation, yielded thicknesses of the retinal nerve fibre layer, the ganglion cell layer plus inner plexiform layer, the INL plus outer plexiform layer (the combined thickness of these layers was used as a surrogate measure of INL thickness), and the outer nuclear layer. Patients with MS also underwent annual brain MRI scans. Disability scores were compared with the Wilcoxon rank-sum test. Mixed-effects linear regression was used to compare OCT measures and letter-acuity scores. Logistic regression was used to examine the relations of baseline OCT thicknesses with clinical and radiological parameters. 164 patients with MS and 60 healthy controls were assessed. Mean follow-up was 25·8 months (SD 9·1) for patients with MS and 22·4 months (11·4) for healthy controls. Ten (6%) patients with MS had MMO during at least one study visit; MMO was visible at baseline in four of these patients. Healthy controls did not have MMO. Patients with MS and MMO had higher baseline MS severity scores (median 5·93 [range 2·44-8·91]) than those who did not have MMO at any time during the study (151 patients; 3·81 [0·13-9·47]; p=0·032), although expanded disability status scale (EDSS) scores were not significantly different (5·2 [1·0-6·5] for patients with MS and MMO vs 2·5 [0·0-8·0] for those without MMO; p=0·097). The eyes of patients with MS and MMO (12 eyes) versus those without MMO (302 eyes) had lower letter-acuity scores (100% contrast, p=0·017; 2·5% contrast, p=0·031; 1·25% contrast, p=0·014), and increased INL thicknesses (p=0·003) at baseline. Increased baseline INL thickness in patients with MS was associated with the development of contrast-enhancing lesions (p=0·007), new T2 lesions (p=0·015), EDSS progression (p=0·034), and relapses in patients with relapsing-remitting MS (p=0·008) during the study. MMO was not associated with disease activity during follow-up. Increased INL thickness on OCT is associated with disease activity in MS. If this finding is confirmed, INL thickness could be a useful predictor of disease progression in patients with MS. National Multiple Sclerosis Society, National Eye Institute, Braxton Debbie Angela Dillon and Skip Donor Advisor Fund.
    No preview · Article · Oct 2012 · The Lancet Neurology

  • No preview · Article · Jan 2013
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    ABSTRACT: Low-contrast letter acuity and optical coherence tomography (OCT) capture visual dysfunction and axonal loss in adult-onset multiple sclerosis (MS), and have been proposed as secondary outcome metrics for therapeutic trials. Clinical trials will soon be launched in pediatric MS, but such outcome metrics have not been well-validated in this population. To determine whether MS onset during childhood and adolescence is associated with measurable loss of visual acuity and thinning of the retinal nerve fiber layer (RNFL), whether such features are noted only in the context of clinical optic nerve inflammation (optic neuritis, ON) or are a feature of MS even in the absence of optic nerve relapses, and to define the optimal methods for such detection. Cross-sectional study. Monocular and binocular high- and low-contrast letter acuity and contrast sensitivity were assessed in a cross-sectional cohort of children (ages 5 to 17 years) with MS (N=22 patients, 44 eyes; 8 patients with a history of ON) and disease-free controls (N=29 patients; 58 eyes) from three academic centers. Binocular summation was determined by calculating the number of letters correctly identified using the binocular score minus the better eye score for each visual test. RNFL thickness was measured using OCT (Stratus OCT-3). Results were analyzed in terms of "eyes" as: MS ON+, MS ON-, and control eyes. Generalized estimating equation (GEE) regression models were used to compare patients to controls. Traditional high-contrast visual acuity scores did not differ between MS ON+, MS ON-, and controls eyes. MS ON+ eyes had decreased monocular (p<0.001) and decreased binocular (p=0.007) low-contrast letter acuity (Sloan 1.25% contrast charts) scores. Monocular visual acuity did not differ when comparing MS ON- and control eyes. The magnitude of binocular summation using low-contrast charts was similar for pediatric MS participants and controls and was not diminished in children with a history of ON. While the mean RNFL thickness for all MS eyes (103±17 μm) trended lower when compared to corresponding measures in control eyes (109±9 μm, p=0.085), we confirmed a highly significant reduction in mean RNFL thickness in MS eyes with a history of ON (86±22 μm, p<0.001). RNFL thickness of MS ON- eyes in pediatric MS patients (109±11 μm) did not differ from controls (p=0.994). Low-contrast letter acuity detects subtle visual loss in MS patients with prior ON, consistent with incomplete recovery, a finding further supported by RNFL loss in ON affected eyes. In MS patients with prior unilateral ON, binocular acuity is decreased; however, the magnitude of binocular summation is preserved, unlike adult-onset MS who exhibit a reduced capacity for visual compensation in the context of unilateral injury. Also unlike findings in adult-onset MS, we did not demonstrate RNFL thinning in ON- eyes of children and adolescents with MS. Further validation is required to confirm whether neurodegeneration of visual pathways occurs in the absence of relapse, and thus whether OCT will serve as a sensitive metric for such pathology in the pediatric and adolescent MS context.
    No preview · Article · May 2013
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