Retinal periphlebitis is associated with multiple sclerosis severity

This study assessed the association between primary retinal inflammation (retinal periphlebitis (RP) and microcytic macular edema (MME) and clinical (EDSS) and imaging (brain and retinal) biomarkers of disease severity to evaluate their suitability as biomarkers in MS. RP is a vasculitis that affects the peripheral retina in about 10% of people with MS. OCT allows for the identification of MME in 0.5%-5% of people with MS.

The study included 100 people with MS who underwent MRI, OCT, neurological as well as ophthalmic examination as baseline and then at one year follow-up. The researchers found that five people had RP, while two people had MME and the remaining 95 had normal retina. The people with RP had a tendency towards a higher EDSS as baseline as well as disability progression after one year. They also had a higher adjusted-mean T1 lesion volume, reduced T1 brain volume and a lower adjusted-mean retinal nerve fibre layer thickness. These findings support the role of RP as a suitable biomarker of MS severity. Further larger studies are needed to define the diagnostic accuracy of these findings.

Authors: Ortiz-Pérez S, Martínez-Lapiscina EH
Source: Neurology. 2013 Jul 31. [Epub ahead of print]

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