Relation of Visual Function to Retinal Nerve Fiber Layer Thickness in Multiple Sclerosis

Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland, United States
Ophthalmology (Impact Factor: 6.14). 02/2006; 113(2):324-32. DOI: 10.1016/j.ophtha.2005.10.040
Source: PubMed


To examine the relation of visual function to retinal nerve fiber layer (RNFL) thickness as a structural biomarker for axonal loss in multiple sclerosis (MS), and to compare RNFL thickness among MS eyes with a history of acute optic neuritis (MS ON eyes), MS eyes without an optic neuritis history (MS non-ON eyes), and disease-free control eyes.
Cross-sectional study.
Patients with MS (n = 90; 180 eyes) and disease-free controls (n = 36; 72 eyes).
Retinal never fiber layer thickness was measured using optical coherence tomography (OCT; fast RNFL thickness software protocol). Vision testing was performed for each eye and binocularly before OCT scanning using measures previously shown to capture dysfunction in MS patients: (1) low-contrast letter acuity (Sloan charts, 2.5% and 1.25% contrast levels at 2 m) and (2) contrast sensitivity (Pelli-Robson chart at 1 m). Visual acuity (retroilluminated Early Treatment Diabetic Retinopathy charts at 3.2 m) was also measured, and protocol refractions were performed.
Retinal nerve fiber layer thickness measured by OCT, and visual function test results.
Although median Snellen acuity equivalents were better than 20/20 in both groups, RNFL thickness was reduced significantly among eyes of MS patients (92 mum) versus controls (105 mum) (P<0.001) and particularly was reduced in MS ON eyes (85 mum; P<0.001; accounting for age and adjusting for within-patient intereye correlations). Lower visual function scores were associated with reduced average overall RNFL thickness in MS eyes; for every 1-line decrease in low-contrast letter acuity or contrast sensitivity score, the mean RNFL thickness decreased by 4 mum.
Scores for low-contrast letter acuity and contrast sensitivity correlate well with RNFL thickness as a structural biomarker, supporting validity for these visual function tests as secondary clinical outcome measures for MS trials. These results also suggest a role for ocular imaging techniques such as OCT in trials that examine neuroprotective and other disease-modifying therapies. Although eyes with a history of acute optic neuritis demonstrate the greatest reductions in RNFL thickness, MS non-ON eyes have less RNFL thickness than controls, suggesting the occurrence of chronic axonal loss separate from acute attacks in MS patients.

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    • "Diminished low-contrast visual acuity correlates significantly with loss of retinal nerve fibre layer thickness in MS (Fisher et al., 2006). Low-contrast visual acuity testing is particularly suited for use in MS, as subtle disturbances of visual function may not be apparent with high-contrast letter charts (Balcer and Frohman, 2010). "
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    ABSTRACT: For decades, the Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) has been the principal measure of disability in clinical trials in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) and in clinical practice. However, this test is dominated by effects on ambulation. Composite endpoints may provide a more sensitive measure of MS-related disability through the measurement of additional neurological functions. The MS Functional Composite (MSFC) includes a walking test (25-ft walk) plus tests of upper extremity dexterity (9-hole peg test) and cognitive function (Paced Auditory serial Addition test [PASAT]). Replacing PASAT with the Symbol Digit Modality test, a more sensitive test preferred by patients, may improve the clinical utility of the MSFC. In addition, disease-specific measures of QoL may be used alongside the MSFC (which does not include measurement of QoL). Clinical data suggest that disease-modifying therapies may delay or prevent relapse, and better composite measures will be valuable in the assessment of disease activity-free status in people with MS. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2015 · Multiple Sclerosis and Related Disorders
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    • "RNFL thickness has been proposed as a structural biomarker or surrogate measure for regional (optic nerve) and global (whole brain) axonal loss in MS [67]. In adults with MS, RNFL thickness is decreased compared to healthy controls by 5 um to 40 um on average, with greater thinning observed in the eyes of patients who have had optic neuritis [65, 67–69]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic inflammatory and neurodegenerative disease that manifests as acute relapses and progressive disability. As a primary endpoint for clinical trials in MS, disability is difficult to both characterize and measure. Furthermore, the recovery from relapses and the rate of disability vary considerably among patients. Given these challenges, investigators have developed and studied the performance of various outcome measures and surrogate endpoints in MS clinical trials. This review defines the outcome measures and surrogate endpoints used to date in MS clinical trials and presents challenges in the design of both adult and pediatric trials.
    Full-text · Article · May 2014
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    • "In addition to optic nerve inflammation, these studies demonstrate significant axonal damage, with loss of retinal ganglion cell (RGC) neurons that comprise the optic nerve also found in EAE optic neuritis, but not examined in the MHV model. RGCs are readily quantified, allowing optic neuritis to serve as a representative lesion for assessing neuronal damage [5,6,14,20,22]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Multiple sclerosis (MS) is characterized by central nervous system inflammation and demyelination, and increasing evidence demonstrates significant neuronal damage also occurs and is associated with permanent functional impairment. Current MS therapies have limited ability to prevent neuronal damage, suggesting additional neuroprotective therapies are needed. Compounds that activate the NAD+-dependent SIRT1 deacetylase prevent neuronal loss in an autoimmune-mediated MS model, but the mechanism of this effect is unknown, and it is unclear whether SIRT1 activating compounds exert similar effects in demyelinating disease induced by other etiologies. We measured neuronal loss in C57BL/6 mice inoculated with a neurotropic strain of mouse hepatitis virus, MHV-A59, that induces an MS-like disease. Oral treatment with the SIRT1 activating compound SRTAW04 significantly increased SIRT1 activity within optic nerves and prevented neuronal loss during optic neuritis, an inflammatory demyelinating optic nerve lesion that occurs in MS and its animal models. MHV-A59 induced neuronal loss was associated with reactive oxygen species (ROS) accumulation, and SRTAW04 treatment significantly reduced ROS levels while promoting increased expression of enzymes involved in mitochondrial function and reduction of ROS. SRTAW04 exerted similar protective effects in EAE spinal cords, with decreased demyelination. Results demonstrate that SIRT1 activating compounds prevent neuronal loss in viral-induced demyelinating disease similar to their effects in autoimmune-mediated disease. One mechanism of this neuroprotective effect involves increasing mitochondrial biogenesis with reduction of oxidative stress. SIRT1 activators represent a potential neuroprotective therapy for MS. Understanding common mechanisms of these effects in distinct disease models will help identify targets for more specific therapies.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2014
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