Damage to the optic radiation in multiple sclerosis is associated with retinal injury and visual disability

Daniel S. Reich, Seth A. Smith, Eliza M. Gordon-Lipkin, Arzu Ozturk, Brian S. Caffo, Laura J. Balcer, Peter A. Calabresi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

104 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objective: To determine whether damage to the optic radiation (OR) in multiple sclerosis (MS) is associated with optic nerve injury and visual dysfunction. Design: Case-control study. Setting: Referral center. Participants: Ninety referred patients with MS and 29 healthy volunteers. Main Outcome Measures: Magnetic resonance imaging indices along the OR were reconstructed with diffusion tensor tractography. Retinal nerve fiber layer thickness and visual acuity at high and low contrast were measured in a subset of the MS group (n=36). Results: All tested magnetic resonance imaging indices (fractional anisotropy [FA]; mean, parallel, and perpendicular [λ⊥] diffusivity; T2 relaxation time; and magnetization transfer ratio) were significantly abnormal in patients with MS. Mean retinal nerve fiber layer thickness was significantly correlated with FA (r=0.55; P<.001) and λ⊥ (r=-0.37; P=.001). The retinal nerve fiber layer thickness in the nasal retinal quadrant was also specifically correlated with FA and λ⊥ in the synaptically connected contralateral OR. In individuals with less severely damaged optic nerves (mean retinal nerve fiber layer thickness>80 μm), letter acuity scores at 2.5% contrast were correlated with OR-specific FA (r=0.55; P=.004), λ⊥ (r=-0.40; P=.04), and magnetization transfer ratio (r=0.54; P=.01), as well as the fraction of OR volume made up of lesions (r=-0.69; P<.001). Conclusions: Fractional anisotropy and λ⊥ are potentially useful quantitative magnetic resonance imaging biomarkers of OR-specific damage in MS. Such damage is associated with retinal injury and visual disability.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)998-1006
Number of pages9
JournalArchives of Neurology
Volume66
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 1 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Clinical Neurology

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    Reich, D. S., Smith, S. A., Gordon-Lipkin, E. M., Ozturk, A., Caffo, B. S., Balcer, L. J., & Calabresi, P. A. (2009). Damage to the optic radiation in multiple sclerosis is associated with retinal injury and visual disability. Archives of Neurology, 66(8), 998-1006. https://doi.org/10.1001/archneurol.2009.107