Background: Serum antibodies against myelin-oligodendrocyte-glycoprotein (MOG-IgG) are detectable in a proportion of patients with acute or relapsing neuroinflammation. It is unclear, if neuro-axonal damage occurs only in an attack-dependent manner or also progressively. Therefore, this study aimed to investigate longitudinally intra-retinal layer changes in eyes without new optic neuritis (ON) in MOG-IgG-seropositive patients.
Methods: We included 38 eyes of 24 patients without ON during follow-up (F/U) [median years (IQR)] 1.9 (1.0-2.2) and 56 eyes of 28 age- and sex-matched healthy controls (HC). The patient group's eyes included 18 eyes without (EyeON-) and 20 eyes with history of ON (EyeON+). Using spectral domain optical coherence tomography (OCT), we acquired peripapillary retinal nerve fiber layer thickness (pRNFL) and volumes of combined ganglion cell and inner plexiform layer (GCIP), inner nuclear layer (INL), and macular volume (MV). High-contrast visual acuity (VA) was assessed at baseline.
Results: At baseline in EyeON-, pRNFL (94.3 ± 15.9 μm, p = 0.36), INL (0.26 ± 0.03 mm3, p = 0.11), and MV (2.34 ± 0.11 mm3, p = 0.29) were not reduced compared to HC; GCIP showed thinning (0.57 ± 0.07 mm3; p = 0.008), and VA was reduced (logMAR 0.05 ± 0.15 vs. - 0.09 ± 0.14, p = 0.008) in comparison to HC. Longitudinally, we observed pRNFL thinning in models including all patient eyes (annual reduction - 2.20 ± 4.29 μm vs. - 0.35 ± 1.17 μm, p = 0.009) in comparison to HC. Twelve EyeON- with other than ipsilateral ON attacks ≤ 6 months before baseline showed thicker pRNFL at baseline and more severe pRNFL thinning in comparison to 6 EyeON- without other clinical relapses.
Conclusions: We observed pRNFL thinning in patients with MOG-IgG during F/U, which was not accompanied by progressive GCIP reduction. This effect could be caused by a small number of EyeON- with other than ipsilateral ON attacks within 6 months before baseline. One possible interpretation could be a reduction of the swelling, which could mean that MOG-IgG patients show immune-related swelling in the CNS also outside of an attack's target area.
Keywords: Myelin-oligodendrocyte-glycoprotein; Optic neuritis; Optical coherence tomography.