Introduction: This study aimed to evaluate whether treatment with fingolimod (FTY) may induce functional changes on the macular pre-ganglionic retinal elements in patients affected by relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RR-MS) without optic neuritis (ON).
Methods: This case-control observational and retrospective study assessed multifocal electroretinogram (mfERG) responses from 35 healthy controls (mean age 43.58 ± 5.76 years), 41 patients with RR-MS without ON (mean age 40.64 ± 4.83 years, MS-noFTY group), and from 21 patients with RR-MS without ON (mean age 42.38 ± 12.34 years) and treated with fingolimod (Gilenya®, Novartis Europharm, 0.5 mg/day) (MS-FTY group). MfERG N1 and P1 implicit times (ITs), and N1-P1 response amplitude densities (RADs) were measured from concentric rings (R) with increasing foveal eccentricity: 0-5° (R1), 5-10° (R2), 10-15° (R3), 15-20° (R4), 20-25° (R5). We considered R1 and R2 as "central macular areas" and R3, R4 and R5 as "more eccentric retinal areas". In the MS-FTY group, mfERG recordings were performed between 6 and 12 months (mean 7.2 ± 1.5 months) from the start of FTY.
Results: In the MS-FTY group, the mean values of mfERG N1 and P1 ITs and RADs detected in both central macular areas (R1 and R2) and in more eccentric retinal areas (R3, R4 and R5) were not significantly different (p > 0.01) with respect to those of control and MS-noFTY groups.
Conclusions: Our mfERG results suggest that the chronic use of FTY does not induce a dysfunction of pre-ganglionic retinal elements located in the 0-25° of central retina. Since FTY does not cause any retinal functional abnormality, we suggest that FTY treatment could not produce any toxic effect on pre-ganglionic retinal elements even in the absence of macular oedema.
Keywords: Fingolimod; Multifocal electroretinogram; Multiple sclerosis; Outer retina; Retinal function.
© 2021. The Author(s).