Microstructural visual system changes in AQP4-antibody–seropositive NMOSD

IMSVISUAL members from Berlin and Munich in Germany have just published the following paper:

Oertel & Kuchling et al. Neurol Neuroimmunol Neuroinflamm May 2017 vol. 4 no. 3 e334


Objective: To trace microstructural changes in patients with aquaporin-4 antibody (AQP4-ab)-seropositive neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorders (NMOSDs) by investigating the afferent visual system in patients without clinically overt visual symptoms or visual pathway lesions.

Methods: Of 51 screened patients with NMOSD from a longitudinal observational cohort study, we compared 6 AQP4-ab–seropositive NMOSD patients with longitudinally extensive transverse myelitis (LETM) but no history of optic neuritis (ON) or other bout (NMOSD-LETM) to 19 AQP4-ab–seropositive NMOSD patients with previous ON (NMOSD-ON) and 26 healthy controls (HCs). Foveal thickness (FT), peripapillary retinal nerve fiber layer (pRNFL) thickness, and ganglion cell and inner plexiform layer (GCIPL) thickness were measured with optical coherence tomography (OCT). Microstructural changes in the optic radiation (OR) were investigated using diffusion tensor imaging (DTI). Visual function was determined by high-contrast visual acuity (VA). OCT results were confirmed in a second independent cohort.

Results: FT was reduced in both patients with NMOSD-LETM (p = 3.52e−14) and NMOSD-ON (p = 1.24e−16) in comparison with HC. Probabilistic tractography showed fractional anisotropy reduction in the OR in patients with NMOSD-LETM (p = 0.046) and NMOSD-ON (p = 1.50e−5) compared with HC. Only patients with NMOSD-ON but not NMOSD-LETM showed neuroaxonal damage in the form of pRNFL and GCIPL thinning. VA was normal in patients with NMOSD-LETM and was not associated with OCT or DTI parameters.

Conclusions: Patients with AQP4-ab–seropositive NMOSD without a history of ON have microstructural changes in the afferent visual system. The localization of retinal changes around the Müller-cell rich fovea supports a retinal astrocytopathy.

Available as Open Access on the publisher’s website.

New publication from IMSVISUAL members – OCT in MOG

Pache & Zimmermann et al. just published a study investigating afferent visual system damage after optic neuritis in MOG-IgG-seropositive versus AQP4-IgG-seropositive patients. MOG-antibodies have recently been identified in a subgroup of patients with neuromyelitis optica and in patients with recurrent optic neuritis.

The paper has been published in Journal of Neuroinflammation 2016 13:282.

The study is part of a series of 4 papers describing different aspects of MOG-IgG in NMO and related disorders.

Part 1: Frequency, syndrome specificity, influence of disease activity, long-term course, association with AQP4-IgG, and origin
Part 2: Epidemiology, clinical presentation, radiological and laboratory features, treatment responses, and long-term outcome
Part 3: Brainstem involvement – frequency, presentation and outcome
Part 4: Afferent visual system damage after optic neuritis in MOG-IgG-seropositive versus AQP4-IgG-seropositive patients

New publication from IMSVISUAL members – OCT in NMOSD

Elena Martinez-Lapiscina and colleagues from Barcelona published a paper on the Usefulness of optical coherence tomography to distinguish optic neuritis associated with AQP4 or MOG in neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorders.

The paper has just been published in Ther Adv Neurol Disord. 2016 Sep; 9(5): 436–440.

It is available online on PubMed Central: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4994783/

Figure 1 from Ther Adv Neurol Disord. 2016 Sep; 9(5): 436–440.

IMSVISUAL’s APOSTEL recommendations have been published in Neurology

We are pleased to announce another IMSVISUAL publication by Cruz-Herrandez & Balk et al.

OBJECTIVE: To develop consensus recommendations for reporting of quantitative optical coherence tomography (OCT) study results.
METHODS: A panel of experienced OCT researchers (including 11 neurologists, 2 ophthalmologists, and 2 neuroscientists) discussed requirements for performing and reporting quantitative analyses of retinal morphology and developed a list of initial recommendations based on experience and previous studies. The list of recommendations was subsequently revised during several meetings of the coordinating group.
RESULTS: We provide a 9-point checklist encompassing aspects deemed relevant when reporting quantitative OCT studies. The areas covered are study protocol, acquisition device, acquisition settings, scanning protocol, funduscopic imaging, postacquisition data selection, postacquisition data analysis, recommended nomenclature, and statistical analysis.
CONCLUSIONS: The Advised Protocol for OCT Study Terminology and Elements recommendations include core items to standardize and improve quality of reporting in quantitative OCT studies. The recommendations will make reporting of quantitative OCT studies more consistent and in line with existing standards for reporting research in other biomedical areas. The recommendations originated from expert consensus and thus represent Class IV evidence. They will need to be regularly adjusted according to new insights and practices.

© 2016 American Academy of Neurology.

Find out more on the publisher's website or our publications page. The paper is also available under open access at PubMed Central.

New IMSVISUAL publication in Lancet Neurology

We are pleased to announce an IMSVISUAL publication by Martinez-Lapiszina et al.


Most patients with multiple sclerosis without previous optic neuritis have thinner retinal layers than healthy controls. We assessed the role of peripapillary retinal nerve fibre layer (pRNFL) thickness and macular volume in eyes with no history of optic neuritis as a biomarker of disability worsening in a cohort of patients with multiple sclerosis who had at least one eye without optic neuritis available.

In this multicentre, cohort study, we collected data about patients (age ≥16 years old) with clinically isolated syndrome, relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis, and progressive multiple sclerosis. Patients were recruited from centres in Spain, Italy, France, Germany, Czech Republic, Netherlands, Canada, and the USA, with the first cohort starting in 2008 and the latest cohort starting in 2013. We assessed disability worsening using the Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS). The pRNFL thickness and macular volume were assessed once at study entry (baseline) by optical coherence tomography (OCT) and was calculated as the mean value of both eyes without optic neuritis for patients without a history of optic neuritis or the value of the non-optic neuritis eye for patients with previous unilateral optic neuritis. Researchers who did the OCT at baseline were masked to EDSS results and the researchers assessing disability with EDSS were masked to OCT results. We estimated the association of pRNFL thickness or macular volume at baseline in eyes without optic neuritis with the risk of subsequent disability worsening by use of proportional hazards models that included OCT metrics and age, disease duration, disability, presence of previous unilateral optic neuritis, and use of disease-modifying therapies as covariates.

879 patients with clinically isolated syndrome (n=74), relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (n=664), or progressive multiple sclerosis (n=141) were included in the primary analyses. Disability worsening occurred in 252 (29%) of 879 patients with multiple sclerosis after a median follow-up of 2·0 years (range 0·5-5 years). Patients with a pRNFL of less than or equal to 87 μm or less than or equal to 88 μm (measured with Spectralis or Cirrus OCT devices) had double the risk of disability worsening at any time after the first and up to the third years of follow-up (hazard ratio 2·06, 95% CI 1·36-3·11; p=0·001), and the risk was increased by nearly four times after the third and up to the fifth years of follow-up (3·81, 1·63-8·91; p=0·002). We did not identify meaningful associations for macular volume.

Our results provide evidence of the usefulness of monitoring pRNFL thickness by OCT for prediction of the risk of disability worsening with time in patients with multiple sclerosis.

Find out more on the publisher's website or on our publications page.