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Immunology - Neurological Disorders - Neuroscience - Ophthalmology

In Vivo Evaluation of Retinal Neurodegeneration in Patients with Multiple Sclerosis
Published: Thursday, January 26, 2012
Author: Erika Tátrai et al.

by Erika Tátrai, Magdolna Simó, Anna Iljicsov, János Németh, Delia Cabrera DeBuc, Gábor Márk Somfai


To evaluate macular morphology in the eyes of patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) with or without optic neuritis (ON) in previous history.


Optical coherence tomography (OCT) examination was performed in thirty-nine patients with MS and in thirty-three healthy subjects. The raw macular OCT data were processed using OCTRIMA software. The circumpapillary retinal nerve fiber layer (RNFL) thickness and the weighted mean thickness of the total retina and 6 intraretinal layers were obtained for each eye. The eyes of MS patients were divided into a group of 39 ON-affected eyes, and into a group of 34 eyes with no history of ON for the statistical analyses. Receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curves were constructed to determine which parameter can discriminate best between the non-affected group and controls.


The circumpapillary RNFL thickness was significantly decreased in the non-affected eyes compared to controls group only in the temporal quadrant (p?=?0.001) while it was decreased in the affected eyes of the MS patients in all quadrants compared to the non-affected eyes (p<0.05 in each comparison). The thickness of the total retina, RNFL, ganglion cell layer and inner plexiform layer complex (GCL+IPL) and ganglion cell complex (GCC, comprising the RNFL and GCL+IPL) in the macula was significantly decreased in the non-affected eyes compared to controls (p<0.05 for each comparison) and in the ON-affected eyes compared to the non-affected eyes (p<0.001 for each comparison). The largest area under the ROC curve (0.892) was obtained for the weighted mean thickness of the GCC. The EDSS score showed the strongest correlation with the GCL+IPL and GCC thickness (p?=?0.007, r?=?0.43 for both variables).


Thinning of the inner retinal layers is present in eyes of MS patients regardless of previous ON. Macular OCT image segmentation might provide a better insight into the pathology of neuronal loss and could therefore play an important role in the diagnosis and follow-up of patients with MS.