Transsynaptic retinal degeneration in optic neuropathies: Optical coherence tomography study

Prema Sriram, Stuart L. Graham, Chenyu Wang, Con Yiannikas, Raymond Garrick, Alexander Klistorner*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    34 Citations (Scopus)


    PURPOSE. Recently demonstrated neuronal loss in the inner nuclear layer of the retina in multiple sclerosis (MS) and glaucoma raises the question of a primary (possibly immune-mediated) or secondary (transsynaptic) mechanism of retinal damage in these diseases. In the present study we used optical coherence tomography to investigate retrograde retinal transsynaptic degeneration in patients with long-standing and severe loss of ganglion cells due to optic neuropathy. METHODS. Fifteen eyes of glaucoma patients with visual field defect limited to upper hemifield and 15 eyes of MS patients with previous episode of optic neuritis (ON) and extensive loss of ganglion cells were imaged using spectral-domain optical coherence tomography and compared with two groups of age-matched controls. Combined retinal ganglion cell layer/inner plexiform layer (GCL/IPL) thickness and inner nuclear layer (INL) thickness were analyzed. RESULTS. In the glaucoma group there was a significant (P = 0.0005) reduction of GCL/IPL thickness in the lower (affected) retina compared with normal controls; however INL thickness was not statistically reduced (P = 0.49). In the MS group reduction of GCL/IPL thickness in both hemifields of ON eyes was also significant (P = 0.0001 and P < 0.0001 for inferior and superior retina respectively). However, similar to the glaucomatous eyes, there was no significant reduction of INL thickness in both hemifields (P = 0.25 and P = 0.45). CONCLUSIONS. This study demonstrates no significant loss of INL thickness in parts of the retina with long-standing and severe loss of retinal ganglion cells.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1271-1275
    Number of pages5
    JournalInvestigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - Mar 2012


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