Pache & Zimmermann et al. – Afferent visual system damage after optic neuritis in MOG-IgG-seropositive versus AQP4-IgG-seropositive patients

Pache & Zimmermann et al. from our lab just published a study investigating afferent visual system damage after optic neuritis in MOG-IgG-seropositive versus AQP4-IgG-seropositive patients. MOG-antibodies have recently been identified in a subgroup of patients with neuromyelitis optica and in patients with recurrent optic neuritis.

The paper has been published in Journal of Neuroinflammation 2016 13:282.

BACKGROUND: Antibodies against myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein (MOG-IgG) have been reported in patients with aquaporin-4 antibody (AQP4-IgG)-negative neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorders (NMOSD). The objective of this study was to describe optic neuritis (ON)-induced neuro-axonal damage in the retina of MOG-IgG-positive patients in comparison with AQP4-IgG-positive NMOSD patients.
METHODS: Afferent visual system damage following ON was bilaterally assessed in 16 MOG-IgG-positive patients with a history of ON and compared with that in 16 AQP4-IgG-positive NMOSD patients. In addition, 16 healthy controls matched for age, sex, and disease duration were analyzed. Study data included ON history, retinal optical coherence tomography, visual acuity, and visual evoked potentials.
RESULTS: Eight MOG-IgG-positive patients had a previous diagnosis of AQP4-IgG-negative NMOSD with ON and myelitis, and eight of (mainly recurrent) ON. Twenty-nine of the 32 eyes of the MOG-IgG-positive patients had been affected by at least one episode of ON. Peripapillary retinal nerve fiber layer thickness (pRNFL) and ganglion cell and inner plexiform layer volume (GCIP) were significantly reduced in ON eyes of MOG-IgG-positive patients (pRNFL = 59 ± 23 μm; GCIP = 1.50 ± 0.34 mm3) compared with healthy controls (pRNFL = 99 ± 6 μm, p < 0.001; GCIP = 1.97 ± 0.11 mm3, p < 0.001). Visual acuity  was impaired in eyes after ON in MOG-IgG-positive patients (0.35 ± 0.88 logMAR). There were no significant differences in any structural or functional visual parameters between MOG-IgG-positive and AQP4-IgG-positive patients (pRNFL: 59 ± 21 μm; GCIP: 1.41 ± 0.27 mm3; Visual acuity = 0.72 ± 1.09 logMAR). Importantly, MOG-IgG-positive patients had a significantly higher annual ON relapse rate than AQP4-IgG-positive patients (median 0.69 vs. 0.29 attacks/year,  p = 0.004), meaning that on average a single ON episode caused less damage in MOG-IgG-positive than in AQP4-IgG-positive patients. pRNFL and GCIP loss correlated with the number of ON episodes in MOG-IgG-positive patients (p < 0.001), but not in AQP4-IgG-positive patients.
CONCLUSIONS: Retinal neuro-axonal damage and visual impairment after ON in MOG-IgG-positive patients are as severe as in AQP4-IgG-positive NMOSD patients. In MOG-IgG-positive patients, damage accrual may be driven by higher relapse rates, whereas AQP4-IgG-positive patients showed fewer but more severe episodes of ON. Given the marked damage in some of our MOG-IgG-positive patients, early diagnosis and timely initiation and close monitoring of immunosuppressive therapy are important.

The study is part of a series of 4 papers describing different aspects of MOG-IgG in NMO and related disorders.

Part 1: Frequency, syndrome specificity, influence of disease activity, long-term course, association with AQP4-IgG, and origin
Part 2: Epidemiology, clinical presentation, radiological and laboratory features, treatment responses, and long-term outcome
Part 3: Brainstem involvement – frequency, presentation and outcome
Part 4: Afferent visual system damage after optic neuritis in MOG-IgG-seropositive versus AQP4-IgG-seropositive patients

Chavarro et al. – Insufficient treatment of severe depression in neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder

Neurol Neuroimmunol Neuroinflamm. 2016 Oct 24;3(6):e286

by Chavarro VS & Mealy MA, Simpson A, Lacheta A, Pache F, Ruprecht K, Gold SM, Paul F, Brandt AU, Levy M

(in cooperation with Johns Hopkins Neuromyelitis Optica Clinic)

Objective: To investigate depression frequency, severity, current treatment, and interactions with somatic symptoms among patients with neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder (NMOSD).

Methods: In this dual-center observational study, we included 71 patients diagnosed with NMOSD according to the International Panel for NMO Diagnosis 2015 criteria. The Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) was classified into severe, moderate, or minimal/no depressive state category. We used the Fatigue Severity Scale to evaluate fatigue. Scores from the Brief Pain Inventory and the PainDETECT Questionnaire were normalized to estimate neuropathic pain. Psychotropic, pain, and immunosuppressant medications were tabulated by established classes.

Results: Twenty-eight percent of patients with NMOSD (n = 20) had BDI scores indicative of moderate or severe depression; 48% of patients (n = 34) endorsed significant levels of neuropathic pain. Severity of depression was moderately associated with neuropathic pain (r = 0.341, p < 0.004) but this relationship was confounded by levels of fatigue. Furthermore, only 40% of patients with moderate or severe depressive symptoms received antidepressant medical treatment. Fifty percent of those treated reported persistent moderate to severe depressive symptoms under treatment.

Conclusions: Moderate and severe depression in patients with NMOSD is associated with neuropathic pain and fatigue and is insufficiently treated. These results are consistent across 2 research centers and continents. Future research needs to address how depression can be effectively managed and treated in NMOSD.

Brandt et al. – Afferent Visual Pathway Affection in Patients with PMP22 Deletion-Related Hereditary Neuropathy with Liability to Pressure Palsies.

PLoS One. 2016 Oct 17;11(10):e0164617.

by Brandt AU, Meinert-Bohn E, Rinnenthal JL, Zimmermann H, Mikolajczak J, Oberwahrenbrock T, Papazoglou S, Pfüller CF, Schinzel J, Tackenberg B, Paul F, Hahn K, Bellmann-Strobl J

Background: The PMP22 gene encodes a protein integral to peripheral myelin. Its deletion leads to hereditary neuropathy with liability to pressure palsies (HNPP). PMP22 is not expressed in the adult central nervous system, but previous studies suggest a role in CNS myelin development. The objective of this study was to identify potential structural and functional alterations in the afferent visual system in HNPP patients.

Methods: Twenty HNPP patients and 18 matched healthy controls (HC) were recruited in a cross-sectional study. Participants underwent neurological examination including visual acuity, visual evoked potential (VEP) examination, optical coherence tomography (OCT), and magnetic resonance imaging with calculation of brain atrophy, regarding grey and white matter, and voxel based morphometry (VBM), in addition answered the National Eye Institute’s 39-item Visual Functioning Questionnaire (NEI-VFQ). Thirteen patients and 6 HC were additionally examined with magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS).

Results: All patients had normal visual acuity, but reported reduced peripheral vision in comparison to HC in the NEI-VFQ (p = 0.036). VEP latency was prolonged in patients (P100 = 103.7±5.7 ms) in comparison to healthy subjects (P100 = 99.7±4.2 ms, p = 0.007). In OCT, peripapillary retinal nerve fiber layer thickness RNFL was decreased in the nasal sector (90.0±15.5 vs. 101.8±16.5, p = 0.013), and lower nasal sector RNFL correlated with prolonged VEP latency (Rho = -0.405, p = 0.012). MRS revealed reduced tNAA (731.4±45.4 vs. 814.9±62.1, p = 0.017) and tCr (373.8±22.2 vs. 418.7±31.1, p = 0.002) in the visual cortex in patients vs. HC. Whole brain volume, grey and white matter volume, VBM and metabolites in a MRS sensory cortex control voxel did not differ significantly between patients and HC.

Conclusion: PMP22 deletion leads to functional, metabolic and macro-structural alterations in the afferent visual system of HNPP patients. Our data suggest a functional relevance of these changes for peripheral vision, which warrants further investigation and confirmation.