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Retinal Layer Thickness and MS Conversion Risk

Mult Scler; ePub 2018 Dec 3; Filippatou, et al

The presence of spinal cord (SC) or infratentorial (IT) lesions in radiologically isolated syndrome (RIS) may be associated with retinal neuro-axonal loss, supporting the presence of more disseminated disease. This according to a recent study that sought to assess retinal layer thicknesses in RIS and examine its association with clinical features suggestive of increased risk for conversion to multiple sclerosis (MS). A total of 30 RIS subjects and 60 age- and sex-matched healthy controls (HC) underwent retinal imaging with spectral-domain optical coherence tomography (OCT), followed by automated segmentation of retinal layers. Researchers found:

  • Overall, retinal layer thicknesses did not differ between RIS and HC.
  • However, RIS subjects with SC lesions had lower ganglion cell + inner plexiform layer (GCIP) thickness compared to HC (−4.41 μm) and RIS without SC lesions (–3.53 μm).
  • Similarly, RIS subjects with IT brain lesions had lower GCIP thickness compared to HC (–4.07 μm) and RIS without IT lesions (–3.49 μm).
  • Multivariate analyses revealed that the presence of SC or IT lesions were independently associated with lower GCIP thickness in RIS.


Filippatou A, Shoemaker T, Esch M, et al. Spinal cord and infratentorial lesions in radiologically isolated syndrome are associated with decreased retinal ganglion cell/inner plexiform layer thickness. [Published online ahead of print December 3, 2018]. Mult Scler. doi:10.1177%2F1352458518815597.