Neuro-ophthalmology

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Bouffard MA, Nathavitharana RR, Yassa DS, Torun N. Re-Treatment With Ethambutol After Toxic Optic Neuropathy. J Neuroophthalmol 2017;37(1):40-42.Abstract

There are no data in the literature regarding the safety of re-treatment with ethambutol for recurrent mycobacterial infection after prior ethambutol-induced optic neuropathy. We describe a patient who developed optic neuropathy attributed to ethambutol, recovered fully after drug withdrawal, and tolerated a 14-month long re-treatment 10 years later without developing recurrent optic neuropathy.

Bouffard MA, Prasad S. Advances in Neuro-Ophthalmic Imaging. Semin Neurol 2017;37(5):566-579.
Bouffard MA, M Mallery R, Liao YJ, Torun N. Variation in Evolving Optic Neuritis. J Neuroophthalmol 2021;41(4):476-479.Abstract
BACKGROUND: The typical natural history of optic neuritis is subjected to important exceptions. Recognition of these exceptions has led to valuable insights regarding specific etiologies of optic neuritis. Exceptions to the natural history of recovering optic neuritis are well-defined (e.g., chronic relapsing inflammatory optic neuropathy), but exceptions to the natural history of evolving optic neuritis are less so. METHODS: Medical records of patients illustrating an atypical course of evolving optic neuritis were reviewed in a retrospective manner. Each patient was treated by at least one of the authors. RESULTS: Four patients were identified who illustrated an atypical natural history of incipient optic neuritis. Diagnoses included idiopathic optic neuritis, seropositive neuromyelitis optica spectrum disease, anti-myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein antibody disease, and multiple sclerosis in 1 patient each. Features of interest included an atypical temporal relationship between development of pain and onset of clinical optic neuropathy, an unusually protracted duration of pain, and an unusually long duration of worsening optic neuropathy before stabilization. CONCLUSIONS: This case series illustrates the substantial clinical heterogeneity which may be observed in the evolution of optic neuritis. The temporal relationship between development of pain and onset of clinical optic neuropathy, the duration of pain, and duration of worsening optic neuropathy before stabilization are all subjected to significant variability. Although most patients with optic neuritis present with painful vision loss which progresses over 1 week or less, careful attention to the exceptions described herein may facilitate earlier recognition of diagnostically challenging cases.
Brommer B, He M, Zhang Z, Yang Z, Page JC, Su J, Zhang Y, Zhu J, Gouy E, Tang J, Williams P, Dai W, Wang Q, Solinsky R, Chen B, He Z. Improving hindlimb locomotor function by Non-invasive AAV-mediated manipulations of propriospinal neurons in mice with complete spinal cord injury. Nat Commun 2021;12(1):781.Abstract
After complete spinal cord injuries (SCI), spinal segments below the lesion maintain inter-segmental communication via the intraspinal propriospinal network. However, it is unknown whether selective manipulation of these circuits can restore locomotor function in the absence of brain-derived inputs. By taking advantage of the compromised blood-spinal cord barrier following SCI, we optimized a set of procedures in which AAV9 vectors administered via the tail vein efficiently transduce neurons in lesion-adjacent spinal segments after a thoracic crush injury in adult mice. With this method, we used chemogenetic actuators to alter the excitability of propriospinal neurons in the thoracic cord of the adult mice with a complete thoracic crush injury. We showed that activating these thoracic neurons enables consistent and significant hindlimb stepping improvement, whereas direct manipulations of the neurons in the lumbar spinal cord led to muscle spasms without meaningful locomotion. Strikingly, manipulating either excitatory or inhibitory propriospinal neurons in the thoracic levels leads to distinct behavioural outcomes, with preferential effects on standing or stepping, two key elements of the locomotor function. These results demonstrate a strategy of engaging thoracic propriospinal neurons to improve hindlimb function and provide insights into optimizing neuromodulation-based strategies for treating SCI.
Buch KA, Bouffard MA, Kardon RH, Wills A-MA, Privitera CM, Sharma M, Wray SH. Clinical Correlation Between Vertical Gaze Palsy and Midbrain Volume in Progressive Supranuclear Palsy. J Neuroophthalmol 2022;42(2):246-250.Abstract
BACKGROUND: Supranuclear vertical gaze palsies and slowed vertical saccades are characteristic clinic features of progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP). The "hummingbird sign," reflective of midbrain atrophy, is a classic radiographic sign of PSP. Correlation between eye movement abnormalities and radiographic findings in PSP has been reported previously. However, due to the use of clinical criteria not commonly employed in neuro-ophthalmic practice and neuroimaging techniques that are not widely available, it remains unclear whether correlation between midbrain structure and characteristic ocular-motor disturbances can be helpful to neuro-ophthalmologists seeking to adjudicate difficult or unusual diagnostic cases. METHODS: Patients with a diagnosis of probable PSP according to Movement Disorders Society criteria were studied retrospectively. A neuroradiologist calculated brainstem volumes in enrolled participants and normal controls. Spearman correlations were used to correlate the extent of eye movement limitation as assessed by 2 neuro-ophthalmologists with brainstem volumes. RESULTS: Fourteen participants with PSP and 15 healthy controls with similar age and gender distribution were enrolled and evaluated retrospectively. All 14 participants with PSP had undergone MRIs. Midbrain atrophy significantly correlated with the PSP rating scale (P < 0.001). PSP patients had significantly reduced volumes in the midbrain (P -0.0026), tegmentum (0.0001), tectum (0.0001), and medulla (P = 0.0024) compared with normal controls. Notes documenting quantified ocular motor function were available in 7 of 14 participants with PSP. Midbrain atrophy significantly correlated with in the extent of upward gaze limitation (P = 0.03). CONCLUSIONS: The severity of upward gaze limitation correlates with the severity of midbrain atrophy in patients with PSP. Recognition of this correlation may help to adjudicate diagnostic dilemmas and guide further evaluation.
Burbank KS, Kreiman G. Depression-biased reverse plasticity rule is required for stable learning at top-down connections. PLoS Comput Biol 2012;8(3):e1002393.Abstract
Top-down synapses are ubiquitous throughout neocortex and play a central role in cognition, yet little is known about their development and specificity. During sensory experience, lower neocortical areas are activated before higher ones, causing top-down synapses to experience a preponderance of post-synaptic activity preceding pre-synaptic activity. This timing pattern is the opposite of that experienced by bottom-up synapses, which suggests that different versions of spike-timing dependent synaptic plasticity (STDP) rules may be required at top-down synapses. We consider a two-layer neural network model and investigate which STDP rules can lead to a distribution of top-down synaptic weights that is stable, diverse and avoids strong loops. We introduce a temporally reversed rule (rSTDP) where top-down synapses are potentiated if post-synaptic activity precedes pre-synaptic activity. Combining analytical work and integrate-and-fire simulations, we show that only depression-biased rSTDP (and not classical STDP) produces stable and diverse top-down weights. The conclusions did not change upon addition of homeostatic mechanisms, multiplicative STDP rules or weak external input to the top neurons. Our prediction for rSTDP at top-down synapses, which are distally located, is supported by recent neurophysiological evidence showing the existence of temporally reversed STDP in synapses that are distal to the post-synaptic cell body.
Burstein R, Noseda R, Fulton AB. Neurobiology of Photophobia. J Neuroophthalmol 2019;39(1):94-102.Abstract
BACKGROUND: Photophobia is commonly associated with migraine, meningitis, concussion, and a variety of ocular diseases. Advances in our ability to trace multiple brain pathways through which light information is processed have paved the way to a better understanding of the neurobiology of photophobia and the complexity of the symptoms triggered by light. PURPOSE: The purpose of this review is to summarize recent anatomical and physiological studies on the neurobiology of photophobia with emphasis on migraine. RECENT FINDINGS: Observations made in blind and seeing migraine patients, and in a variety of animal models, have led to the discovery of a novel retino-thalamo-cortical pathway that carries photic signal from melanopsinergic and nonmelanopsinergic retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) to thalamic neurons. Activity of these neurons is driven by migraine and their axonal projections convey signals about headache and light to multiple cortical areas involved in the generation of common migraine symptoms. Novel projections of RGCs into previously unidentified hypothalamic neurons that regulate parasympathetic and sympathetic functions have also been discovered. Finally, recent work has led to a novel understanding of color preference in migraine-type photophobia and of the roles played by the retina, thalamus, and cortex. SUMMARY: The findings provide a neural substrate for understanding the complexity of aversion to light in patients with migraine and neuro-ophthalmologic other disorders.
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Caravagna C. Comments on "Initial clinical manifestation of multiple sclerosis after immunization with the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine" by , J Neuroimmunol. J Neuroimmunol 2022;362:577780.
Caron-Cantin M, Cestari DM, Fortin E. Clinical and radiologic approach to 'typical' versus antibody-related optic neuritis. Curr Opin Ophthalmol 2019;30(6):412-417.Abstract
PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Optic neuritis is an autoimmune optic neuropathy that has been associated with multiple sclerosis (MS), neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder (NMOSD), and more recently antimyelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein (anti-MOG)-positive disorder. At initial presentation, it is often difficult to differentiate these entities given their significant overlap in clinical presentation and MRI findings. This review summarizes the distinguishing clinical and radiological features of MS, NMOSD, and anti-MOG disorders to help clinicians accurately diagnose and manage patients affected by these conditions. RECENT FINDINGS: Antiaquaporin-4 (AQP4) and more recently anti-MOG antibodies are both associated with central nervous system demyelinating diseases that often initially present with optic neuritis. Serologic testing now allows for a new classification of these overlapping conditions that can help to differentiate 'typical' optic neuritis that is often associated with MS from 'atypical' optic neuritis associated with NMOSD and anti-MOG-positive disorder. SUMMARY: Optic neuritis associated with MS, NMOSD, and anti-MOG-positive disease can have a similar clinical presentation. However, some clinical and radiologic findings can help clinicians to differentiate these entities so that they can be properly managed to optimize visual prognosis.
Caton MT, Zamani AA, Du R, Prasad S. Optic Neuropathy Due to Compression by an Ectatic Internal Carotid Artery Within the Orbital Apex. J Neuroophthalmol 2021;41(1):e103-e104.Abstract
ABSTRACT: Neurovascular compression is a rare but potentially treatable cause of optic neuropathy. Although incidental contact of the cisternal optic nerve and internal carotid artery (ICA) is common, compressive optic neuropathy occurring within the orbital apex has not been comprehensively described. We report a case of intra-orbital and intracanalicular optic nerve compression due to an ectatic ICA in a patient with congenital absence of the contralateral ICA. This report describes the complementary roles of advanced neuroimaging and neuro-ophthalmologic examination in rendering the diagnosis.
Cattaneo Z, Lega C, Gardelli C, Merabet LB, Cela-Conde CJ, Nadal M. The role of prefrontal and parietal cortices in esthetic appreciation of representational and abstract art: a TMS study. Neuroimage 2014;99:443-50.Abstract
To explain the biological foundations of art appreciation is to explain one of our species' distinctive traits. Previous neuroimaging and electrophysiological studies have pointed to the prefrontal and the parietal cortex as two critical regions mediating esthetic appreciation of visual art. In this study, we applied transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) over the left prefrontal cortex and the right posterior parietal cortex while participants were evaluating whether they liked, and by how much, a particular painting. By depolarizing cell membranes in the targeted regions, TMS transiently interferes with the activity of specific cortical areas, which allows clarifying their role in a given task. Our results show that both regions play a fundamental role in mediating esthetic appreciation. Critically though, the effects of TMS varied depending on the type of art considered (i.e. representational vs. abstract) and on participants' a-priori inclination toward one or the other.
Cestari DM, Gaier ED, Bouzika P, Blachley TS, De Lott LB, Rizzo JF, Wiggs JL, Kang JH, Pasquale LR, Stein JD. Demographic, Systemic, and Ocular Factors Associated with Nonarteritic Anterior Ischemic Optic Neuropathy. Ophthalmology 2016;123(12):2446-2455.Abstract

OBJECTIVE: Nonarteritic anterior ischemic optic neuropathy (NAION) is a devastating ocular condition causing permanent vision loss. Little is known about risk factors for developing this disease. We assessed demographic, systemic, and ocular factors associated with NAION. DESIGN: Retrospective longitudinal cohort study. PARTICIPANTS: Beneficiaries between 40 and 75 years old without NAION at baseline enrolled in a large U.S. managed care network. METHODS: Enrollees were monitored continuously for ≥2 years between 2001 and 2014 to identify those newly diagnosed with NAION (International Classification of Diseases, 9th Revision, Clinical Modification [ICD-9-CM] code 377.41). All persons were under ophthalmic surveillance and all cases had ≥1 confirmatory ICD-9-CM code for NAION during follow-up. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Multivariable Cox regression modeling was used to generate hazard ratios (HRs) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs) to describe the statistical relationship between selected demographic characteristics, systemic and ocular conditions, and the hazard of developing NAION. RESULTS: Of 1 381 477 eligible enrollees, 977 (0.1%) developed NAION during a mean ± standard deviation (SD) follow-up of 7.8±3.1 years. The mean ± SD age for NAION cases at the index date was 64.0±9.2 years vs. 58.4±9.4 years for the remainder of the beneficiaries. After adjustment for confounding factors, each additional year older was associated with a 2% increased hazard of NAION (HR = 1.02; 95% CI: 1.01-1.03). Female subjects had a 36% decreased hazard of developing NAION (HR = 0.64; 95% CI: 0.55-0.74) compared with male subjects. Compared with whites, Latinos had a 46% decreased hazard of developing NAION (HR = 0.54; 95% CI: 0.36-0.82), whereas African ancestry was not significantly associated with NAION (HR = 0.91; 95% CI: 0.72-1.15). Systemic diseases associated with NAION included hypertension (HR = 1.62; 95% CI: 1.26-2.07) and hypercoagulable states (HR = 2.46; 95% CI: 1.51-4.00). Although diabetes mellitus (DM) was not significantly associated with NAION compared with those without DM (P = 0.45), patients with end-organ involvement from DM had a 27% increased hazard of NAION relative to those with uncomplicated DM (HR = 1.27; 95% CI: 1.01-1.59). Ocular diseases associated with NAION were age-related macular degeneration (HR = 1.29; 95% CI: 1.08-1.54) and retinal vein occlusion (HR = 3.94; 95% CI: 3.11-4.99). CONCLUSIONS: Our study identified several modifiable risk factors that may be associated with NAION. Should future studies confirm these findings, they may offer opportunities to prevent or treat this debilitating condition.

Cestari DM, Cunnane ME, Rizzo JF, Stone JH. Case 2-2018. A 41-Year-Old Woman with Vision Disturbances and Headache. N Engl J Med 2018;378(3):282-289.
Cestari DM, Arnold A. Does Nocturnal Hypotension Play a Causal Role in Nonarteritic Anterior Ischemic Optic Neuropathy?. J Neuroophthalmol 2016;36(3):329-33.
Cestari DM, Lessell S, Mantopoulos D. Early Diagnosis of Subclinical Interferon Alpha-Associated Optic Neuropathy Using Fluorescein Angiography. J Neuroophthalmol 2015;35(3):280-3.Abstract

We report a case of a 57-year-old man who presented with decreased visual acuity in the left eye secondary to nonarteritic anterior ischemic optic neuropathy (NAION) while on therapy with interferon-α for hepatitis C. Fundus fluorescein angiography revealed late leakage of both optic discs, consistent with bilateral disease. One week later, the patient developed clinical signs and symptoms consistent with NAION in the fellow eye. Fluorescein angiography may play an important role in identifying subclinical NAION in patients taking interferon-α.

Chauhan MZ, Arcuri J, Park KK, Zafar MK, Fatmi R, Hackam AS, Yin Y, Benowitz L, Goldberg JL, Samarah M, Bhattacharya SK. Multi-Omic Analyses of Growth Cones at Different Developmental Stages Provides Insight into Pathways in Adult Neuroregeneration. iScience 2020;23(2):100836.Abstract
Growth cones (GCs) are structures associated with growing neurons. GC membrane expansion, which necessitates protein-lipid interactions, is critical to axonal elongation in development and in adult neuritogenesis. We present a multi-omic analysis that integrates proteomics and lipidomics data for the identification of GC pathways, cell phenotypes, and lipid-protein interactions, with an analytic platform to facilitate the visualization of these data. We combine lipidomic data from GC and adult axonal regeneration following optic nerve crush. Our results reveal significant molecular variability in GCs across developmental ages that aligns with the upregulation and downregulation of lipid metabolic processes and correlates with distinct changes in the lipid composition of GC plasmalemma. We find that these processes also define the transition into a growth-permissive state in the adult central nervous system. The insight derived from these analyses will aid in promoting adult regeneration and functional innervation in devastating neurodegenerative diseases.
Chen CT, Schultz JA, Haven SE, Wilhite B, Liu C-H, Chen J, Hibbeln JR. Loss of RAR-related orphan receptor alpha (RORα) selectively lowers docosahexaenoic acid in developing cerebellum. Prostaglandins Leukot Essent Fatty Acids 2020;152:102036.Abstract
Deficiency in retinoid acid receptor-related orphan receptor alpha (RORα) of staggerer mice results in extensive granule and Purkinje cell loss in the cerebellum as well as in learned motor deficits, cognition impairments and perseverative tendencies that are commonly observed in autistic spectrum disorder (ASD). The effects of RORα on brain lipid metabolism associated with cerebellar atrophy remain unexplored. The aim of this study is to examine the effects of RORα deficiency on brain phospholipid fatty acid concentrations and compositions. Staggerer mice (Rora) and wildtype littermates (Rora) were fed n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) containing diets ad libitum. At 2 months and 7 or more months old, brain total phospholipid fatty acids were quantified by gas chromatography-flame ionization detection. In the cerebellum, all fatty acid concentrations were reduced in 2 months old mice. Since total fatty acid concentrations were significantly different at 2-month-old, we examined changes in fatty acid composition. The composition of ARA was not significantly different between genotypes; though DHA composition remained significantly lowered. Despite cerebellar atrophy at >7-months-old, cerebellar fatty acid concentrations had recovered comparably to wildtype control. Therefore, RORα may be necessary for fatty acid accretions during neurodevelopment. Specifically, the effects of RORα on PUFA metabolisms are region-specific and age-dependent.
Chen JJ, Warrington KJ, Garrity JA, Prasad S. Is Routine Imaging of the Aorta Warranted in Patients With Giant Cell Arteritis?. J Neuroophthalmol 2017;
Chen JJ, Flanagan EP, Bhatti TM, Jitprapaikulsan J, Dubey D, Lopez Chiriboga ASS, Fryer JP, Weinshenker BG, McKeon A, Tillema J-M, Lennon VA, Lucchinetti CF, Kunchok A, McClelland CM, Lee MS, Bennett JL, Pelak VS, Van Stavern G, Adesina O-OO, Eggenberger ER, Acierno MD, Wingerchuk DM, Lam BL, Moss H, Beres S, Gilbert AL, Shah V, Armstrong G, Heidary G, Cestari DM, Stiebel-Kalish H, Pittock SJ. Steroid-sparing maintenance immunotherapy for MOG-IgG associated disorder. Neurology 2020;95(2):e111-e120.Abstract
OBJECTIVE: Myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein-immunoglobulin G (MOG-IgG) associated disorder (MOGAD) often manifests with recurrent CNS demyelinating attacks. The optimal treatment for reducing relapses is unknown. To help determine the efficacy of long-term immunotherapy in preventing relapse in patients with MOGAD, we conducted a multicenter retrospective study to determine the rate of relapses on various treatments. METHODS: We determined the frequency of relapses in patients receiving various forms of long-term immunotherapy for MOGAD. Inclusion criteria were history of ≥1 CNS demyelinating attacks, MOG-IgG seropositivity, and immunotherapy for ≥6 months. Patients were reviewed for CNS demyelinating attacks before and during long-term immunotherapy. RESULTS: Seventy patients were included. The median age at initial CNS demyelinating attack was 29 years (range 3-61 years; 33% <18 years), and 59% were female. The median annualized relapse rate (ARR) before treatment was 1.6. On maintenance immunotherapy, the proportion of patients with relapse was as follows: mycophenolate mofetil 74% (14 of 19; ARR 0.67), rituximab 61% (22 of 36; ARR 0.59), azathioprine 59% (13 of 22; ARR 0.2), and IV immunoglobulin (IVIG) 20% (2 of 10; ARR 0). The overall median ARR on these 4 treatments was 0.3. All 9 patients treated with multiple sclerosis (MS) disease-modifying agents had a breakthrough relapse on treatment (ARR 1.5). CONCLUSION: This large retrospective multicenter study of patients with MOGAD suggests that maintenance immunotherapy reduces recurrent CNS demyelinating attacks, with the lowest ARR being associated with maintenance IVIG therapy. Traditional MS disease-modifying agents appear to be ineffective. Prospective randomized controlled studies are required to validate these conclusions.
Cheng Y, Yin Y, Zhang A, Bernstein AM, Kawaguchi R, Gao K, Potter K, Gilbert H-Y, Ao Y, Ou J, Fricano-Kugler CJ, Goldberg JL, He Z, Woolf CJ, Sofroniew MV, Benowitz LI, Geschwind DH. Transcription factor network analysis identifies REST/NRSF as an intrinsic regulator of CNS regeneration in mice. Nat Commun 2022;13(1):4418.Abstract
The inability of neurons to regenerate long axons within the CNS is a major impediment to improving outcome after spinal cord injury, stroke, and other CNS insults. Recent advances have uncovered an intrinsic program that involves coordinate regulation by multiple transcription factors that can be manipulated to enhance growth in the peripheral nervous system. Here, we use a systems genomics approach to characterize regulatory relationships of regeneration-associated transcription factors, identifying RE1-Silencing Transcription Factor (REST; Neuron-Restrictive Silencer Factor, NRSF) as a predicted upstream suppressor of a pro-regenerative gene program associated with axon regeneration in the CNS. We validate our predictions using multiple paradigms, showing that mature mice bearing cell type-specific deletions of REST or expressing dominant-negative mutant REST show improved regeneration of the corticospinal tract and optic nerve after spinal cord injury and optic nerve crush, which is accompanied by upregulation of regeneration-associated genes in cortical motor neurons and retinal ganglion cells, respectively. These analyses identify a role for REST as an upstream suppressor of the intrinsic regenerative program in the CNS and demonstrate the utility of a systems biology approach involving integrative genomics and bio-informatics to prioritize hypotheses relevant to CNS repair.

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