Diffusion Tensor Imaging in Acute Optic Neuropathies: Predictor of Clinical Outcomes

Naismith RT, Xu J, Tutlam NT, Lancia S, Trinkaus K, Song SK, Cross AH (2011). Arch Neurol
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Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To evaluate directional diffusivities within the optic nerve in a first event of acute optic neuritis to determine whether decreased axial diffusivity (AD) would predict 6-month visual outcome and optic nerve integrity measures.

DESIGN:

Cohort study.

SETTING:

Academic multiple sclerosis center. Patients  Referred sample of 25 individuals who presented within 31 days after acute visual symptoms consistent with optic neuritis. Visits were scheduled at baseline, 2 weeks, and 1, 3, 6, and 12 months.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:

Visual acuity, contrast sensitivity, visual evoked potentials (VEPs), and thickness of the retinal nerve fiber layer (RNFL).

RESULTS:

An incomplete 6-month visual recovery was associated with a lower baseline AD (1.50 μm(2)/ms [95% confidence interval {CI}, 1.36-1.64 μm(2)/ms for incomplete recovery vs 1.75 μm(2)/ms [95% CI, 1.67-1.83 μm(2)/ms] for complete recovery). Odds of complete recovery decreased by 53% (95% CI, 27%-70%) for every 0.1-unit decrease in baseline AD. A lower baseline AD correlated with worse 6-month visual outcomes in visual acuity (r = 0.40, P = .03), contrast sensitivity (r = 0.41, P = .02), VEP amplitude (r = 0.55, P < .01), VEP latency (r = -0.38, P = .04), and RNFL thickness (r = 0.53, P = .02). Radial diffusivity increased between months 1 and 3 to become higher in those with incomplete recovery at 12 months than in those with complete recovery (1.45 μm(2)/ms [95% CI, 1.31-1.59 μm(2)/ms] vs 1.19 μm(2)/ms [95% CI, 1.10-1.28 μm(2)/ms]).

CONCLUSIONS:

Decreased AD in acute optic neuritis was associated with a worse 6-month visual outcome and correlated with VEP and RNFL measures of axon and myelin injury. Axial diffusivity may serve as a marker of axon injury in acute white matter injury.

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Posted on October 14, 2011
Posted in: Axon Injury & Repair, Publications Authors: ,