Optic nerve head component responses of the multifocal electroretinogram in MS

This study from the US looked at a new stimulation paradigm in order to elicit multifocal electroretinography (mfERG)-induced optic nerve head component (ONHC) responses. These are thought to be contingent upon the transformation in electrical transmission properties of retinal ganglion cell axons from membrane to salutatory conduction mechanisms, as they traverse the lamina cribrosa and obtain oligodendrocyte myelin. 

The study included ten healthy subjects and seven people with MS, both with and without a history of optic neuritis. The researchers used a novel mfERG stimulation paradigm that included interleaved global flashes in order to elicit the ONHC responses from 103 retinal patches of pattern-reversal stimulation. From this they found that the number of abnormal or absent ONHC responses was significantly increased in MS patients’ eyes compared to controls. 

Looking at the relationship between ONHC abnormalities and alterations in validated structural and functional measures of the visual system may help characterise the pathobiological mechanisms that contribute to tissue damage in MS. In the future, this may have the potential to detect and monitor neuroprotection or restorative effects of new therapies.

Authors: Frohman TC, Beh SC

Source: Neurology. 2013 Jul 3. [Epub ahead of print]

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