THURSDAY, Aug. 18, 2022 (HealthDay News) — Retinal layer thinning after optic neuritis (ON) may be useful as a marker of future relapse remission in relapsing multiple sclerosis (MS), according to a study published online Aug. 2 in Neurology.

Gabriel Bsteh, P.D., M.D., Ph.D., from the Medical University of Vienna, and colleagues used data from the Vienna MS database to investigate whether retinal thinning after ON is associated with relapse remission after subsequent non-ON relapses. The analysis included 167 MS patients with an episode of acute ON and available spectral-domain optical coherence tomography (OCT) scans within 12 months before ON onset (OCTbaseline), within one week after ON onset (OCTacute), and at three to six months of follow-up (OCTfollow-up).

The researchers found that during a mean of 3.4 years of follow-up after the ON episode, 36.5 percent of patients had at least one relapse that showed incomplete remission. Incomplete remission of non-ON relapse was associated with macular ganglion-cell-and-inner-plexiform-layer thinning both from OCTbaseline to OCTfollow-up and from OCTacute to OCTfollow-up (odds ratio [OR], 2.4 per 5 µm), independently explaining 29 and 27 percent of variance, respectively. Change in retinal thinning in the peripapillary retinal nerve fiber layer from OCTbaseline to OCTfollow-up also was associated with incomplete relapse remission (OR, 1.9 per 10 µm), which independently accounted for 22 percent of variance.

“In retinal layer thickness, we have found a new biomarker that represents a window to the brain, as it were,” Bsteh said in a statement.

Several authors disclosed financial ties to pharmaceutical companies.

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