Role of hydrogen peroxide in experimental optic neuritis. A serial quantitative ultrastructural study

Ophthalmic Res. 1993;25(4):253-64. doi: 10.1159/000267321.


In order to determine the role of H2O2 in demyelination of the optic nerve, serial quantitative analysis of H2O2-derived cerium perhydroxide reaction product particles was obtained by computerized digitization of electron micrographs of the myelinated retrobulbar optic nerve, unmyelinated optic nerve head, and the optic nerve sheath of guinea pigs sensitized for experimental allergic encephalomyelitis (EAE) and euthanized 3-14 days later. We found that cerium perhydroxide reaction product particles were greatest in the myelinated optic nerve 3 days after antigenic sensitization, but at this focus decreased 7-14 days after antigenic sensitization. Reaction product accumulated in the unmyelinated optic nerve head and optic nerve sheath 3-14 days after sensitization. These results in the myelinated optic nerve suggest H2O2 consumption results in peroxidation of myelin lipid as demyelination proceeds 7-14 days after antigenic sensitization. Hydrogen peroxide accumulation in the optic nerve head and the optic nerve sheath appears to provide a reservoir for diffusion of H2O2 into the retrobulbar optic nerve and adjacent perineural nerve, contributing to the frequent predilection for optic nerve involvement in EAE and perhaps in multiple sclerosis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Encephalomyelitis, Autoimmune, Experimental / metabolism*
  • Encephalomyelitis, Autoimmune, Experimental / pathology
  • Free Radicals
  • Guinea Pigs
  • Histocytochemistry
  • Hydrogen Peroxide / metabolism*
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Lipid Peroxidation
  • Myelin Sheath / metabolism
  • Myelin Sheath / ultrastructure
  • Optic Disk / metabolism
  • Optic Disk / ultrastructure
  • Optic Nerve / metabolism
  • Optic Nerve / ultrastructure
  • Optic Neuritis / metabolism*
  • Optic Neuritis / pathology


  • Free Radicals
  • Hydrogen Peroxide