Characteristic retinal atrophy pattern allows differentiation between pediatric MOGAD and MS after a single optic neuritis episode

J Neurol. 2022 Dec;269(12):6366-6376. doi: 10.1007/s00415-022-11256-y. Epub 2022 Jul 23.


Background: Optic neuritis (ON) is the most prevalent manifestation of pediatric multiple sclerosis (MSped) and myelin-oligodendrocyte glycoprotein antibody-associated disease (MOGADped) in children > 6 years. In this study, we investigated retinal atrophy patterns and diagnostic accuracy of optical coherence tomography (OCT) in differentiating between both diseases after the first ON episode.

Methods: Patients were retrospectively identified in eight tertial referral centers. OCT, VEP and high/low-contrast visual acuity (HCVA/LCVA) have been investigated > 6 months after the first ON. Prevalence of pathological OCT findings was identified based on data of 144 age-matched healthy controls.

Results: Thirteen MOGADped (10.7 ± 4.2 years, F:M 8:5, 21 ON eyes) and 21 MSped (14.3 ± 2.4 years, F:M 19:2, 24 ON eyes) patients were recruited. We observed a significantly more profound atrophy of both peripapillary and macular retinal nerve fiber layer in MOGADped compared to MSped (pRNFL global: 68.2 ± 16.9 vs. 89.4 ± 12.3 µm, p < 0.001; mRNFL: 0.12 ± 0.01 vs. 0.14 ± 0.01 mm3, p < 0.001). Neither other macular layers nor P100 latency differed. MOGADped developed global atrophy affecting all peripapillary segments, while MSped displayed predominantly temporal thinning. Nasal pRNFL allowed differentiation between both diseases with the highest diagnostic accuracy (AUC = 0.902, cutoff < 62.5 µm, 90.5% sensitivity and 70.8% specificity for MOGADped). OCT was also substantially more sensitive compared to VEP in identification of ON eyes in MOGAD (pathological findings in 90% vs. 14%, p = 0.016).

Conclusion: First MOGAD-ON results in a more severe global peripapillary atrophy compared to predominantly temporal thinning in MS-ON. Nasal pRNFL allows differentiation between both diseases with the highest accuracy, supporting the additional diagnostic value of OCT in children with ON.

Keywords: Children; MOGAD; Multiple sclerosis; Myelin-oligodendrocyte-glycoprotein IgG; Optic neuritis; Optical coherence tomography; Pediatric patients; Visual evoked potential.

MeSH terms

  • Atrophy / pathology
  • Humans
  • Multiple Sclerosis* / complications
  • Optic Neuritis* / diagnosis
  • Retina / diagnostic imaging
  • Retina / pathology
  • Retinal Degeneration* / pathology
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Tomography, Optical Coherence / methods
  • Vision Disorders