Optic nerve and its arterial-venous vascularization: an ultrasonologic study in multiple sclerosis patients and healthy controls

J Neuroimaging. 2014 May-Jun;24(3):273-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1552-6569.2012.00758.x. Epub 2012 Dec 28.


Background: Recent studies suggest that alterations in the cerebrospinal venous system may play a role in multiple sclerosis (MS) and that chronic cerebrospinal venous insufficiency correlates with clinical features of MS patients.

Objectives: To evaluate the vascularization of optic nerve (ONr) and measure ONe thickness by color Doppler ultrasonography in MS patients with and without previous optic neuritis (ONe).

Subjects and methods: We assessed flow variables in the ophthalmic artery, central retinal artery, and central retinal vein and measured the diameter of ONe in 46 relapsing-remitting MS patients and 37 healthy controls (HC). Twenty-two MS patients had previous ONe and 24 MS patients had not. Patients with acute ONe were not included. We examined and compared 63 unaffected and 29 affected eyes of MS patients with 74 control eyes.

Results: Regarding flow variables, we did not find any significant difference between HC, MS affected, and unaffected eyes. Comparing ONr diameters, we found a progressive significant thinning of the ONr from HC to MS patients without and with past ONe.

Conclusions: We found no significant alteration in the arterial-venous vascularization of both affected and unaffected ONr compared with HC. We demonstrated the possibility to detect ONr atrophy in MS patients.

Keywords: Optic neuritis; ophthalmic arterial flow; ophthalmic venous flow; optic nerve atrophy.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Multiple Sclerosis / complications
  • Multiple Sclerosis / diagnostic imaging*
  • Ophthalmic Artery / diagnostic imaging*
  • Optic Nerve / blood supply*
  • Optic Nerve / diagnostic imaging*
  • Optic Neuritis / diagnostic imaging*
  • Optic Neuritis / etiology
  • Reference Values
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Retinal Artery / diagnostic imaging*
  • Retinal Vein / diagnostic imaging*
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Ultrasonography