Optic radiation changes after optic neuritis detected by tractography-based group mapping

Hum Brain Mapp. 2005 Jul;25(3):308-16. doi: 10.1002/hbm.20101.


Postmortem data suggest that trans-synaptic degeneration occurs in the lateral geniculate nucleus after optic nerve injury. This study investigated in vivo the optic radiations in patients affected by optic neuritis using fast marching tractography (FMT), a diffusion magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) fiber tracking method, and group mapping techniques, which allow statistical comparisons between subjects. Seven patients, 1 year after isolated unilateral optic neuritis, and ten age and gender-matched controls underwent whole-brain diffusion tensor MR imaging. The FMT algorithm was used to generate voxel-scale connectivity (VSC) maps in the optic radiations in each subject in native space. Group maps of the left and right optic radiations were created in the patient and control group in a standardized reference frame using statistical parametric mapping (SPM99). The reconstructed optic radiations in the patient group were localized more laterally in the posterior part of the tracts and more inferiorly than in the control group. Patients showed reduced VSC values in both tracts compared with controls. These findings suggest that the group mapping techniques might be used to assess changes in the optic radiations in patients after an episode of optic neuritis. The changes we have observed may be secondary to the optic nerve damage.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Algorithms
  • Brain Mapping / methods*
  • Diffusion Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Disease Progression
  • Female
  • Geniculate Bodies / pathology
  • Geniculate Bodies / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Multiple Sclerosis / pathology*
  • Multiple Sclerosis / physiopathology
  • Nerve Degeneration / pathology*
  • Nerve Degeneration / physiopathology
  • Nerve Fibers, Myelinated / pathology
  • Optic Neuritis / pathology*
  • Optic Neuritis / physiopathology
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Visual Pathways / pathology*
  • Visual Pathways / physiopathology