The time course and phenotype of Uhthoff phenomenon following optic neuritis

Mult Scler. 2012 Jul;18(7):1042-4. doi: 10.1177/1352458511431074. Epub 2011 Dec 6.


As there is little information regarding the recovery from Uhthoff phenomenon (UP) in the multiple sclerosis (MS) literature, the objective of this study was to assess the phenotypes of UP. A one-page questionnaire was sent to 80 consecutive optic neuritis (ON) patients seen in a tertiary neuro-ophthalmology clinic. Of the 48 responders to the questionnaire, 52% reported experiencing UP, with a range of follow-up from 1 to 20 years. Only 16% had resolution of UP, all this occurred within 8 weeks of the onset of ON. Of the MS patients with UP, 88% experienced non-visual heat-related phenomenon compared with 30% without UP. The presence of UP may have a more general phenotypic significance. If full recovery from UP has not occurred within the first 2 months from the onset of ON, then recovery appears to be uncommon and may therefore be a surrogate marker of remyelination in future drug trials.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Body Temperature
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Motor Activity / physiology*
  • Multiple Sclerosis / complications
  • Multiple Sclerosis / physiopathology
  • Optic Neuritis* / complications
  • Optic Neuritis* / physiopathology
  • Phenotype
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Time