5 years ago

Trans-synaptic degeneration in the optic pathway. A study in clinically isolated syndrome and early relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis with or without optic neuritis

Paola Perini, Elisabetta Pilotto, Edoardo Midena, Alessio Signori, Lisa Federle, Francesca Rinaldi, Davide Poggiali, Silvia Miante, Maria Pia Sormani, Marco Puthenparampil, Paolo Gallo

by Marco Puthenparampil, Lisa Federle, Davide Poggiali, Silvia Miante, Alessio Signori, Elisabetta Pilotto, Francesca Rinaldi, Paola Perini, Maria Pia Sormani, Edoardo Midena, Paolo Gallo


Increasing evidence suggest that neuronal damage is an early and diffuse feature of Multiple Sclerosis (MS) pathology. Analysis of the optic pathway may help to clarify the mechanisms involved in grey matter damage in MS. Purpose of our study was to investigate the relationship between inflammation and neurodegeneration and to achieve evidence of trans-synaptic degeneration in the optic pathway in MS at clinical onset.


50 clinically isolated syndromes/early relapse-onset MS (CIS/eRRMS) with mean disease duration of 4.0±3.5 months, 28 MRI healthy controls (HC) and 31 OCT-HC were studied. Ten patients had optic neuritis at presentation (MSON+), 40 presented with other symptoms (MSON-). MRI examination included 3D-T1, 3D-FLAIR and 3D-DIR sequences. Global cortical thickness (gCTh), pericalcarin CTh (pCTh) and white matter volume (WMV) were analysed by means of Freesurfer on 3D-T1 scans. Optic radiation morphology (OR) and volume (ORV) were reconstructed on the base of the Jülich’s Atlas. White matter lesion volume (WMLV), OR-WMLV and percent WM damage (WMLV/WMV = WMLV% and OR-WMLV/ORV = ORWMLV%) were obtained by 3D-FLAIR image segmentation. 3D-DIR sequences were applied to identify inflammatory lesions of the optic nerve. Optic coherence tomography (OCT) protocol included the analysis of global peripapillary retinal nerve fiber layer (g-RNFL) and the 6 fundus oculi’s sectors (temporal, T-RNFL; temporal superior, TS-RNFL; nasal superior, NS-RNFL; nasal, N-RNFL; nasal inferior, NI-RNFL, temporal inferior, TI-RNFL). The retina of both eyes was analyzed. The eyes of ON+ were further divided into affected (aON+) or not (naON+).


No difference in CTh was found between CIS/eRRMS and HC, and between MSON+ and MSON-. Moreover, MSON+ and MSON- did not differ for any WM lesion load parameter. The most significant correlations between RNFL thickness and optic radiation WM pathology were found in MSON+. In these patients, the temporal RNFL inversely correlated to ipsilateral optic radiation WM lesion load (T-RNFL: r -0.7, p<0.05; TS-RNFL: r -0.7, p<0.05), while nasal RNFL inversely correlated to contralateral optic radiation WM lesion load (NI: r -0.8, p<0.01; NS-RNFL: r -0.8, p<0.01).


Our findings suggest that in MSON+ the optic pathway is site of a diffuse pathological process that involves both directly and via trans-synaptic degeneration the RNFL.

Publisher URL: http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article

DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0183957

You might also like
Discover & Discuss Important Research

Keeping up-to-date with research can feel impossible, with papers being published faster than you'll ever be able to read them. That's where Researcher comes in: we're simplifying discovery and making important discussions happen. With over 19,000 sources, including peer-reviewed journals, preprints, blogs, universities, podcasts and Live events across 10 research areas, you'll never miss what's important to you. It's like social media, but better. Oh, and we should mention - it's free.

  • Download from Google Play
  • Download from App Store
  • Download from AppInChina

Researcher displays publicly available abstracts and doesn’t host any full article content. If the content is open access, we will direct clicks from the abstracts to the publisher website and display the PDF copy on our platform. Clicks to view the full text will be directed to the publisher website, where only users with subscriptions or access through their institution are able to view the full article.