Journal of Neurology

, Volume 265, Issue 10, pp 2284–2294 | Cite as

Discriminative power of intra-retinal layers in early multiple sclerosis using 3D OCT imaging

  • Caspar B. Seitz
  • Amgad Droby
  • Lena Zaubitzer
  • Julia Krämer
  • Mathieu Paradis
  • Luisa Klotz
  • Heinz Wiendl
  • Sergiu Groppa
  • Sven G. Meuth
  • Frauke Zipp
  • Vinzenz FleischerEmail author
Original Communication



To evaluate volumetric changes and discriminative power of intra-retinal layers in early-stage multiple sclerosis (MS) using a 3D optical coherence tomography (OCT) imaging method based on an in-house segmentation algorithm.


3D analysis of intra-retinal layers was performed in 71 patients with early-stage MS (mean disease duration 2.2 ± 3.5 years) at baseline and 40 healthy controls (HCs). All patients underwent a follow-up OCT scan within 23 ± 9 months. Patients with a clinical episode of optic neuritis (ON) more than 6 months prior to study entrance were compared with patients who never experienced clinical symptoms of an ON episode (NON).


Significantly decreased total retinal volume (TRV), macular retinal nerve fiber layer (mRNFL) and ganglion cell—inner plexiform layer (GCIPL) volumes were detected in ON patients compared to NON patients (all p values < 0.05) at baseline. Each parameter on its own allowed identification of prior clinical ON based on a discriminative model (ROC analysis). Over time, TRV decreased in both ON (p = 0.013) and NON patients (p = 0.002), whereas mRNFL volume (p = 0.028) decreased only in ON and GCIPL volume (p = 0.003) decreased only in NON patients.


Our 3D-OCT data demonstrated that TRV, mRNFL and GCIPL allow discrimination between ON and NON patients in a cross-sectional analysis. However, the subsequent retinal atrophy pattern diverges in the initial phase of MS: Prior ON promotes sustained axonal thinning over time indicated by mRNFL loss, whereas longitudinal measurement of GCIPL volume better depicts continuous retrograde neurodegeneration in NON patients in early-stage MS.


Optical coherence tomography Optic neuritis MS Neuroimmunology 



This study was funded by the German Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF) German Competence Network Multiple Sclerosis (KKNMS) to FZ, SG, SGM and HW. We would like to thank Dr. Cheryl Ernest for proofreading the manuscript. The results presented are part of the doctoral thesis of LZ.

Author contributions

CBS and AD analyzed and interpreted the data and wrote the manuscript. LZ collected and analyzed the data. MP developed the 3D expansion of the 2D automatic segmentation algorithm. LK, HW, JK and SGM organized patient recruitment and logistics and provided clinical information. SG helped to conceptualize the study, analyzed and interpreted the data. FZ and VF designed the project, were responsible for the concept, generated funding, organized patient recruitment, provided clinical information and wrote the manuscript.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflicts of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical standards

This study was approved by the local ethics committees at the University Medical Centers in Mainz (Germany) and Münster (Germany) and performed in accordance with the Declaration of Helsinki. All participants gave their informed consent.

Supplementary material

415_2018_8988_MOESM1_ESM.docx (157 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 156 KB)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Caspar B. Seitz
    • 1
    • 2
  • Amgad Droby
    • 1
    • 2
  • Lena Zaubitzer
    • 1
  • Julia Krämer
    • 3
  • Mathieu Paradis
    • 1
  • Luisa Klotz
    • 3
  • Heinz Wiendl
    • 3
  • Sergiu Groppa
    • 1
    • 2
  • Sven G. Meuth
    • 3
  • Frauke Zipp
    • 1
    • 2
  • Vinzenz Fleischer
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Neurology, Focus Program Translational Neuroscience (FTN), Rhine Main Neuroscience Network (rmn2)University Medical Center of the Johannes Gutenberg University MainzMainzGermany
  2. 2.Neuroimaging Center (NIC) of the Focus Program Translational Neuroscience (FTN)Johannes Gutenberg University MainzMainzGermany
  3. 3.Department of NeurologyUniversity of Münster, Albert-Schweizer-CampusMünsterGermany

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