People with progressive forms of multiple sclerosis (MS) have faster and disease-modifying therapy (DMT)-resistant retinal atrophy (thinning), compared to those with relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS), a study shows.
Data also highlighted that the thickness of deeper layers of the retina could be used as potential biomarkers of neurodegeneration in people with progressive MS and the potential use of optical coherence tomography (OCT), a non-invasive technique, to monitor such changes in clinical trials and clinical practice.
The study, “Progressive Multiple Sclerosis Is Associated with Faster and Specific Retinal Layer Atrophy,” was published in the journal Annals of Neurology.
Thinning of external and deeper retinal layers has been associated with reductions in brain volume and other measures of disease activity and progression in MS patients.
As a result, retinal changes have been proposed as biomarkers to monitor neurodegeneration in MS. Changes in the thickness of retinal layers can be assessed through a rapid, non-invasive, high-resolution method — OCT.
Moreover, some data suggest there may be differences in retinal atrophy across the various stages of MS. However, the particular retinal features of people with progressive forms of MS — primary progressive MS (PPMS) and secondary progressive MS (SPMS) — remain largely uncharacterized.
A team of researchers at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, in Baltimore, Maryland, set out to assess retinal layer atrophy in progressive MS patients and whether it is different from that seen in RRMS patients.
The team also evaluated the contribution of normal aging-related changes to retinal thinning in MS patients and the therapeutic effects of conventional DMT treatment in retinal layers.
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