Neuro-ophthalmology

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Styliadis C, Leung R, Özcan S, Moulton EA, Pang E, Taylor MJ, Papadelis C. Atypical spatiotemporal activation of cerebellar lobules during emotional face processing in adolescents with autism. Hum Brain Mapp 2021;42(7):2099-2114.Abstract
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is characterized by social deficits and atypical facial processing of emotional expressions. The underlying neuropathology of these abnormalities is still unclear. Recent studies implicate cerebellum in emotional processing; other studies show cerebellar abnormalities in ASD. Here, we elucidate the spatiotemporal activation of cerebellar lobules in ASD during emotional processing of happy and angry faces in adolescents with ASD and typically developing (TD) controls. Using magnetoencephalography, we calculated dynamic statistical parametric maps across a period of 500 ms after emotional stimuli onset and determined differences between group activity to happy and angry emotions. Following happy face presentation, adolescents with ASD exhibited only left-hemispheric cerebellar activation in a cluster extending from lobule VI to lobule V (compared to TD controls). Following angry face presentation, adolescents with ASD exhibited only midline cerebellar activation (posterior IX vermis). Our findings indicate an early (125-175 ms) overactivation in cerebellar activity only for happy faces and a later overactivation for both happy (250-450 ms) and angry (250-350 ms) faces in adolescents with ASD. The prioritized hemispheric activity (happy faces) could reflect the promotion of a more flexible and adaptive social behavior, while the latter midline activity (angry faces) may guide conforming behavior.
Sümbül U, Song S, McCulloch K, Becker M, Lin B, Sanes JR, Masland RH, Seung SH. A genetic and computational approach to structurally classify neuronal types. Nat Commun 2014;5:3512.Abstract
The importance of cell types in understanding brain function is widely appreciated but only a tiny fraction of neuronal diversity has been catalogued. Here we exploit recent progress in genetic definition of cell types in an objective structural approach to neuronal classification. The approach is based on highly accurate quantification of dendritic arbor position relative to neurites of other cells. We test the method on a population of 363 mouse retinal ganglion cells. For each cell, we determine the spatial distribution of the dendritic arbors, or arbor density, with reference to arbors of an abundant, well-defined interneuronal type. The arbor densities are sorted into a number of clusters that is set by comparison with several molecularly defined cell types. The algorithm reproduces the genetic classes that are pure types, and detects six newly clustered cell types that await genetic definition.
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Tabarestani S, Eslami M, Cabrerizo M, Curiel RE, Barreto A, Rishe N, Vaillancourt D, DeKosky ST, Loewenstein DA, Duara R, Adjouadi M. A Tensorized Multitask Deep Learning Network for Progression Prediction of Alzheimer's Disease. Front Aging Neurosci 2022;14:810873.Abstract
With the advances in machine learning for the diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease (AD), most studies have focused on either identifying the subject's status through classification algorithms or on predicting their cognitive scores through regression methods, neglecting the potential association between these two tasks. Motivated by the need to enhance the prospects for early diagnosis along with the ability to predict future disease states, this study proposes a deep neural network based on modality fusion, kernelization, and tensorization that perform multiclass classification and longitudinal regression simultaneously within a unified multitask framework. This relationship between multiclass classification and longitudinal regression is found to boost the efficacy of the final model in dealing with both tasks. Different multimodality scenarios are investigated, and complementary aspects of the multimodal features are exploited to simultaneously delineate the subject's label and predict related cognitive scores at future timepoints using baseline data. The main intent in this multitask framework is to consolidate the highest accuracy possible in terms of precision, sensitivity, F1 score, and area under the curve (AUC) in the multiclass classification task while maintaining the highest similarity in the MMSE score as measured through the correlation coefficient and the RMSE for all time points under the prediction task, with both tasks, run simultaneously under the same set of hyperparameters. The overall accuracy for multiclass classification of the proposed KTMnet method is 66.85 ± 3.77. The prediction results show an average RMSE of 2.32 ± 0.52 and a correlation of 0.71 ± 5.98 for predicting MMSE throughout the time points. These results are compared to state-of-the-art techniques reported in the literature. A discovery from the multitasking of this consolidated machine learning framework is that a set of hyperparameters that optimize the prediction results may not necessarily be the same as those that would optimize the multiclass classification. In other words, there is a breakpoint beyond which enhancing further the results of one process could lead to the downgrading in accuracy for the other.
Takatoh J, Prevosto V, Thompson PM, Lu J, Chung L, Harrahill A, Li S, Zhao S, He Z, Golomb D, Kleinfeld D, Wang F. The whisking oscillator circuit. Nature 2022;609(7927):560-568.Abstract
Central oscillators are primordial neural circuits that generate and control rhythmic movements1,2. Mechanistic understanding of these circuits requires genetic identification of the oscillator neurons and their synaptic connections to enable targeted electrophysiological recording and causal manipulation during behaviours. However, such targeting remains a challenge with mammalian systems. Here we delimit the oscillator circuit that drives rhythmic whisking-a motor action that is central to foraging and active sensing in rodents3,4. We found that the whisking oscillator consists of parvalbumin-expressing inhibitory neurons located in the vibrissa intermediate reticular nucleus (vIRtPV) in the brainstem. vIRtPV neurons receive descending excitatory inputs and form recurrent inhibitory connections among themselves. Silencing vIRtPV neurons eliminated rhythmic whisking and resulted in sustained vibrissae protraction. In vivo recording of opto-tagged vIRtPV neurons in awake mice showed that these cells spike tonically when animals are at rest, and transition to rhythmic bursting at the onset of whisking, suggesting that rhythm generation is probably the result of network dynamics, as opposed to intrinsic cellular properties. Notably, ablating inhibitory synaptic inputs to vIRtPV neurons quenched their rhythmic bursting, impaired the tonic-to-bursting transition and abolished regular whisking. Thus, the whisking oscillator is an all-inhibitory network and recurrent synaptic inhibition has a key role in its rhythmogenesis.
Thon OR, Gittinger JW. Medication-Related Pseudotumor Cerebri Syndrome. Semin Ophthalmol 2017;32(1):134-143.Abstract

Pseudotumor cerebri syndrome refers to elevated intracranial pressure associated with papilledema without an identified etiology for intracranial hypertension. Over the past few decades, several medications have been described to be associated with this syndrome. We searched the literature for those case reports and series and evaluated the evidence for the association of such medications with pseudotumor cerebri syndrome.

Tisdale AK, Dinkin M, Chwalisz BK. Afferent and Efferent Neuro-Ophthalmic Complications of Coronavirus Disease 19. J Neuroophthalmol 2021;41(2):154-165.Abstract
PURPOSE: To provide a summary of the neuro-ophthalmic manifestations of coronavirus disease 19 (COVID-19) documented in the literature thus far. METHODS: The PubMed and Google Scholar databases were searched using the keywords: Neuro-Ophthalmology, COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2, and coronavirus. A manual search through reference lists of relevant articles was also performed. RESULTS/CONCLUSIONS: The literature on COVID-associated neuro-ophthalmic disease continues to grow. Afferent neuro-ophthalmic complications associated with COVID-19 include optic neuritis, papillophlebitis, papilledema, visual disturbance associated with posterior reversible encephalopathy syndrome, and vision loss caused by stroke. Efferent neuro-ophthalmic complications associated with COVID-19 include cranial neuropathies, Miller Fisher syndrome, Adie's pupils, ocular myasthenia gravis, nystagmus and eye movement disorders. Proposed mechanisms of neurologic disease include immunologic upregulation, vasodilation and vascular permeability, endothelial dysfunction, coagulopathy, and direct viral neurotropism. When patients present to medical centers with new onset neuro-ophthalmic conditions during the pandemic, COVID-19 infection should be kept on the differential.
Tisdale AK, Chwalisz BK. Neuro-ophthalmic manifestations of coronavirus disease 19. Curr Opin Ophthalmol 2020;31(6):489-494.Abstract
PURPOSE OF REVIEW: To provide a summary of the neuro-ophthalmic manifestations of coronavirus disease 19 (COVID-19), documented in the literature thus far. RECENT FINDINGS: A small but growing literature documents cases of new onset neuro-ophthalmic disease, in the setting of COVID-19 infection. Patients with COVID-19 have experienced acute onset vision loss, optic neuritis, cranial neuropathies, and Miller Fisher syndrome. In addition, COVID-19 increases the risk of cerebrovascular diseases that can impact the visual system. SUMMARY: The literature on COVID-19 continues to evolve. Although COVID-19 primarily impacts the respiratory system, there are several reports of new onset neuro-ophthalmic conditions in COVID-infected patients. When patients present with new onset neuro-ophthalmic issues, COVID-19 should be kept on the differential. Testing for COVID-19 should be considered, especially when fever or respiratory symptoms are also present. When screening general patients for COVID-19-associated symptoms, frontline physicians can consider including questions about diplopia, eye pain, pain with extraocular movements, decreased vision, gait issues, and other neurologic symptoms. The presence of these symptoms may increase the overall probability of viral infection, especially when fever or respiratory symptoms are present. More research is needed to establish a causal relationship between COVID-19 and neuro-ophthalmic disease, and better understand pathogenesis.
Torun N, Laviv Y, Jazi KK, Mahadevan A, Bhadelia RA, Matthew A, Strominger M, Kasper EM. Schwannoma of the trochlear nerve-an illustrated case series and a systematic review of management. Neurosurg Rev 2018;41(3):699-711.Abstract
Schwannomas of cranial nerves in the absence of systemic neurofibromatosis are relatively rare. Among these, schwannomas of the trochlear nerve are even less common. They can be found incidentally or when they cause diplopia or other significant neurological deficits. Treatment options include observation only, neuro-ophthalmological intervention, and/or neurosurgical management via resection or sterotactic radiosurgery (SRS). In recent years, the latter has become an attractive therapeutic tool for a number of benign skull base neoplasm including a small number of reports on its successful use for trochlear Schwannomas. However, no treatment algorithm for the management of these tumors has been proposed so far. The goal of this manuscript is to illustrate a case series of this rare entity and to suggest a rational treatment algorithm for trochlear schwannomas, based on our institutional experience of recent cases, and a pertinent review of the literature. Including our series of 5 cases, a total of 85 cases reporting on the management of trochlear schwannomas have been published. Of those reported, less than half (40 %) of patients underwent surgical resection, whereas the remainder were managed conservatively or with SRS. Seventy-six percent (65/85) of the entire cohort presented with diplopia, which was the solitary symptom in over half of the cases (n = 39). All patients who presented with symptoms other than diplopia or headaches as solitary symptoms underwent surgical resection. Patients in the non-surgical group were mostly male (M/F = 3.5:1), presented at an older age and had shorter mean diameter (4.6 vs. 30.4 mm, p < 0.0001) when compared to the surgical group. Twelve patients in the entire cohort were treated with SRS, none of whom had undergone surgical resection before or after radiation treatment. Trochlear schwannoma patients without systemic neurofibromatosis are rare and infrequently reported in the literature. Of those, patients harboring symptomatic trochlear Schwannomas do not form a single homogenous group, but fall into two rather distinct subgroups regarding demographics and clinical characteristics. Among those patients in need of intervention, open microsurgical resection as well as less invasive treatment options exist, which all aim at safe relief of symptoms and prevention of progression. Both open microsurgical removal as well as SRS can achieve good long-term local control. Consequently, a tailored multidisciplinary treatment algorithm, based on the individual presentation and tumor configuration, is proposed.
Trakhtenberg EF, Li Y, Feng Q, Tso J, Rosenberg PA, Goldberg JL, Benowitz LI. Zinc chelation and Klf9 knockdown cooperatively promote axon regeneration after optic nerve injury. Exp Neurol 2018;300:22-29.Abstract
The inability of axons to regenerate over long-distances in the central nervous system (CNS) limits the recovery of sensory, motor, and cognitive functions after various CNS injuries and diseases. Although pre-clinical studies have identified a number of manipulations that stimulate some degree of axon growth after CNS damage, the extent of recovery remains quite limited, emphasizing the need for improved therapies. Here, we used traumatic injury to the mouse optic nerve as a model system to test the effects of combining several treatments that have recently been found to promote axon regeneration without the risks associated with manipulating known tumor suppressors or oncogenes. The treatments tested here include TPEN, a chelator of mobile (free) zinc (Zn); shRNA against the axon growth-suppressing transcription factor Klf9; and the atypical growth factor oncomodulin combined with a cAMP analog. Whereas some combinatorial treatments produced only marginally stronger effects than the individual treatments alone, co-treatment with TPEN and Klf9 knockdown had a substantially stronger effect on axon regeneration than either one alone. This combination also promoted a high level of cell survival at longer time points. Thus, Znchelation in combination with Klf9 suppression holds therapeutic potential for promoting axon regeneration after optic nerve injury, and may also be effective for treating other CNS injuries and diseases.
Truong-Le M, Chwalisz B. Antibody Testing in Atypical Optic Neuritis. Semin Ophthalmol 2020;:1-9.Abstract
Optic neuritis (ON) is a common manifestation of central nervous system demyelinating disorders such as multiple sclerosis (MS). The last two decades have seen increasing recognition of atypical optic neuritis syndromes, driven in large part by characterization of demyelinating diseases associated with antibodies to aquaporin 4 (AQP4) and myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein (MOG). Given their increased importance in the workup of ON, familiarity with serological tests for ON has become essential for ophthalmologists. This review will discuss technological aspects, performance, and clinical implications of serological tests for atypical ON.
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Vandenberghe LH. AAV Engineering Identifies a Species Barrier That Highlights a Portal to the Brain. Mol Ther 2019;27(5):901-903.
Vanikieti K, Rizzo JF. Teaching Video NeuroImages: Bilateral abducens ocular neuromyotonia. Neurology 2017;89(10):e128.
Venkatraman P, Mills-Henry I, Padmanabhan KR, Pascuzzi P, Hassan M, Zhang J, Zhang X, Ma P, Pang CP, Dowling JE, Zhang M, Leung YF. Rods Contribute to Visual Behavior in Larval Zebrafish. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci 2020;61(12):11.Abstract
Purpose: Although zebrafish rods begin to develop as early as 2 days postfertilization (dpf), they are not deemed anatomically mature and functional until 15 to 21 dpf. A recent study detected a small electroretinogram (ERG) from rods in a cone mutant called no optokinetic response f (nof) at 5 dpf, suggesting that young rods are functional. Whether they can mediate behavioral responses in larvae is unknown. Methods: We first confirmed rod function by measuring nof ERGs under photopic and scotopic illumination at 6 dpf. We evaluated the role of rods in visual behaviors using two different assays: the visual-motor response (VMR) and optokinetic response (OKR). We measured responses from wild-type (WT) larvae and nof mutants under photopic and scotopic illuminations at 6 dpf. Results: Nof mutants lacked a photopic ERG. However, after prolonged dark adaptation, they displayed scotopic ERGs. Compared with WT larvae, the nof mutants displayed reduced VMRs. The VMR difference during light onset gradually diminished with decreased illumination and became nearly identical at lower light intensities. Additionally, light-adapted nof mutants did not display an OKR, whereas dark-adapted nof mutants displayed scotopic OKRs. Conclusions: Because the nof mutants lacked a photopic ERG but displayed scotopic ERGs after dark adaptation, the mutants clearly had functional rods. WT larvae and the nof mutants displayed comparable scotopic light-On VMRs and scotopic OKRs after dark adaptation, suggesting that these responses were driven primarily by rods. Together, these observations indicate that rods contribute to zebrafish visual behaviors as early as 6 dpf.
Vinken K, Op de Beeck H. Using deep neural networks to evaluate object vision tasks in rats. PLoS Comput Biol 2021;17(3):e1008714.Abstract
In the last two decades rodents have been on the rise as a dominant model for visual neuroscience. This is particularly true for earlier levels of information processing, but a number of studies have suggested that also higher levels of processing such as invariant object recognition occur in rodents. Here we provide a quantitative and comprehensive assessment of this claim by comparing a wide range of rodent behavioral and neural data with convolutional deep neural networks. These networks have been shown to capture hallmark properties of information processing in primates through a succession of convolutional and fully connected layers. We find that performance on rodent object vision tasks can be captured using low to mid-level convolutional layers only, without any convincing evidence for the need of higher layers known to simulate complex object recognition in primates. Our approach also reveals surprising insights on assumptions made before, for example, that the best performing animals would be the ones using the most abstract representations-which we show to likely be incorrect. Our findings suggest a road ahead for further studies aiming at quantifying and establishing the richness of representations underlying information processing in animal models at large.
Vodopivec I, Lobo A-M, Prasad S. Ocular inflammation in neurorheumatic disease. Semin Neurol 2014;34(4):444-57.Abstract

Neuroimmunologic and systemic rheumatic diseases are frequently accompanied by inflammation of the eye, ocular adnexa, and orbital tissues. An understanding of the diverse forms of ophthalmic pathology in these conditions aids the clinician in making appropriate preventative, diagnostic, therapeutic, and prognostic decisions. In this review, the authors address ocular inflammation in neurorheumatic disease in three sections: first, they highlight current perspectives on immune mechanisms in the development of these disorders; next, they provide a framework for the recognition and evaluation of ophthalmologic inflammatory entities; finally, they discuss in detail several inflammatory conditions that affect the nervous system and the eye, emphasizing the features that should alert neurologists to initiate ophthalmologic evaluation. The conditions discussed include multiple sclerosis, neuromyelitis optica, chronic relapsing inflammatory optic neuropathy, Susac syndrome, Cogan syndrome, acute posterior multifocal placoid pigment epitheliopathy, Vogt-Koyanagi-Harada disease, Behçet disease, sarcoidosis, systemic lupus erythematosus, granulomatosis with polyangiitis (Wegener granulomatosis), polyarteritis nodosa, giant cell arteritis, IgG4-related disease, and Sjögren syndrome.

Vodopivec I, Cho TA, Rizzo JF, Frosch MP, Sims KB. Mitochondrial Encephalopathy and Optic Neuropathy Due to m.10158 MT-ND3 Complex I Mutation Presenting in an Adult Patient: Case Report and Review of the Literature. Neurologist 2016;21(4):61-5.Abstract

INTRODUCTION: Establishing a diagnosis of mitochondrial disease in adults remains a clinician's challenge. We report a case of syndrome reminiscent of mitochondrial encephalomyopathy, lactic acidosis, and stroke-like episodes (MELAS) in an adult patient who carries m.10158T>C mutation in complex I respiratory chain gene MT-ND3 (mitochondrially encoded NADH dehydrogenase 3). CASE REPORT: This 26-year-old man from Thailand presented with new-onset headaches, seizures, stroke-like episodes, and poor vision due to optic neuropathy and cortical blindness. Instead of expected mutations in the mitochondrial tRNA gene that are frequently associated with MELAS, the mutation in MT-ND3 with variable tissue heteroplasmy (blood 5.3%, muscle 89.5%) was demonstrated. The patient's clinical features, blood biomarkers, neuroimaging findings, muscle biopsy with histochemical and functional in vitro analysis, and genetic studies were analyzed and compared with all previously reported ND3 disease cases. CONCLUSIONS: ND3 disease due to m.10158T>C mutation was previously described only in patients with Leigh or Leigh-like syndrome. Our findings thus indicate that ND3 disease can manifest with atypical phenotype in adults. The diagnosis of mitochondrial disease caused by other than typical MELAS-associated mutations in adults with stroke-like episodes, headaches, and seizures should be considered. An analysis of tissue other than blood, which is more likely to harbor a tissue-specific mitochondrial DNA mutation at a measurable level, may be necessary for diagnosis.

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Waldman AT, Benson L, Sollee JR, Lavery AM, Liu GW, Green AJ, Waubant E, Heidary G, Conger D, Graves J, Greenberg B. Interocular Difference in Retinal Nerve Fiber Layer Thickness Predicts Optic Neuritis in Pediatric-Onset Multiple Sclerosis. J Neuroophthalmol 2021;41(4):469-475.Abstract
BACKGROUND: Optical coherence tomography (OCT) is capable of quantifying retinal damage. Defining the extent of anterior visual pathway injury is important in multiple sclerosis (MS) as a way to document evidence of prior disease, including subclinical injury, and setting a baseline for patients early in the course of disease. Retinal nerve fiber layer (RNFL) thickness is typically classified as low if values fall outside of a predefined range for a healthy population. In adults, an interocular difference (IOD) in RNFL thickness greater than 5 μm identified a history of unilateral optic neuritis (ON). Through our PERCEPTION (PEdiatric Research Collaboration ExPloring Tests in Ocular Neuroimmunology) study, we explored whether RNFL IOD informs on remote ON in a multicenter pediatric-onset MS (POMS) cohort. METHODS: POMS (defined using consensus criteria and first attack <18 years) patients were recruited from 4 academic centers. A clinical history of ON (>6 months prior to an OCT scan) was confirmed by medical record review. RNFL thickness was measured on Spectralis machines (Heidelberg, Germany). Using a cohort of healthy controls from our centers tested on the same machines, RNFL thickness <86 μm (<2 SDs below the mean) was defined as abnormal. Based on previously published findings in adults, an RNFL IOD >5 μm was defined as abnormal. The proportions of POMS participants with RNFL thinning (<86 μm) and abnormal IOD (>5 μm) were calculated. Logistic regression was used to determine whether IOD was associated with remote ON. RESULTS: A total of 157 participants with POMS (mean age 15.2 years, SD 3.2; 67 [43%] with remote ON) were enrolled. RNFL thinning occurred in 45 of 90 (50%) ON eyes and 24 of 224 (11%) non-ON eyes. An IOD >5 μm was associated with a history of remote ON (P < 0.001). An IOD >5 μm occurred in 62 participants, 40 (65%) with remote ON. Among 33 participants with remote ON but normal RNFL values (≥86 μm in both eyes), 14 (42%) were confirmed to have ON by IOD criteria (>5 μm). CONCLUSIONS: In POMS, the diagnostic yield of OCT in confirming remote ON is enhanced by considering RNFL IOD, especially for those patients with RNFL thickness for each eye in the normal range. An IOD >5 μm in patients with previous visual symptoms suggests a history of remote ON.
Wang J, He X, Meng H, Li Y, Dmitriev P, Tian F, Page JC, Lu RQ, He Z. Robust Myelination of Regenerated Axons Induced by Combined Manipulations of GPR17 and Microglia. Neuron 2020;108(5):876-886.e4.Abstract
Myelination facilitates rapid axonal conduction, enabling efficient communication across different parts of the nervous system. Here we examined mechanisms controlling myelination after injury and during axon regeneration in the central nervous system (CNS). Previously, we discovered multiple molecular pathways and strategies that could promote robust axon regrowth after optic nerve injury. However, regenerated axons remain unmyelinated, and the underlying mechanisms are elusive. In this study, we found that, in injured optic nerves, oligodendrocyte precursor cells (OPCs) undergo transient proliferation but fail to differentiate into mature myelination-competent oligodendrocytes, reminiscent of what is observed in human progressive multiple sclerosis. Mechanistically, we showed that OPC-intrinsic GPR17 signaling and sustained activation of microglia inhibit different stages of OPC differentiation. Importantly, co-manipulation of GPR17 and microglia led to extensive myelination of regenerated axons. The regulatory mechanisms of stage-dependent OPC differentiation uncovered here suggest a translatable strategy for efficient de novo myelination after CNS injury.
Wareham LK, Liddelow SA, Temple S, Benowitz LI, Di Polo A, Wellington C, Goldberg JL, He Z, Duan X, Bu G, Davis AA, Shekhar K, Torre AL, Chan DC, Canto-Soler VM, Flanagan JG, Subramanian P, Rossi S, Brunner T, Bovenkamp DE, Calkins DJ. Solving neurodegeneration: common mechanisms and strategies for new treatments. Mol Neurodegener 2022;17(1):23.Abstract
Across neurodegenerative diseases, common mechanisms may reveal novel therapeutic targets based on neuronal protection, repair, or regeneration, independent of etiology or site of disease pathology. To address these mechanisms and discuss emerging treatments, in April, 2021, Glaucoma Research Foundation, BrightFocus Foundation, and the Melza M. and Frank Theodore Barr Foundation collaborated to bring together key opinion leaders and experts in the field of neurodegenerative disease for a virtual meeting titled "Solving Neurodegeneration". This "think-tank" style meeting focused on uncovering common mechanistic roots of neurodegenerative disease and promising targets for new treatments, catalyzed by the goal of finding new treatments for glaucoma, the world's leading cause of irreversible blindness and the common interest of the three hosting foundations. Glaucoma, which causes vision loss through degeneration of the optic nerve, likely shares early cellular and molecular events with other neurodegenerative diseases of the central nervous system. Here we discuss major areas of mechanistic overlap between neurodegenerative diseases of the central nervous system: neuroinflammation, bioenergetics and metabolism, genetic contributions, and neurovascular interactions. We summarize important discussion points with emphasis on the research areas that are most innovative and promising in the treatment of neurodegeneration yet require further development. The research that is highlighted provides unique opportunities for collaboration that will lead to efforts in preventing neurodegeneration and ultimately vision loss.
Webb LM, Chen JJ, Aksamit AJ, Bhattacharyya S, Chwalisz BK, Balaban D, Manzano GS, Ali AS, Lord J, Clardy SL, Samudralwar RD, Mao-Draayer Y, Garrity JA, Bhatti TM, Turner LE, Flanagan EP. A multi-center case series of sarcoid optic neuropathy. J Neurol Sci 2020;:117282.Abstract
OBJECTIVE: The diagnosis of sarcoid optic neuropathy is time-sensitive, as delayed treatment risks irreversible vision loss. We sought to analyze its characteristics and outcomes. METHODS: We performed a multi-center retrospective study of sarcoid optic neuropathy among 5 USA medical centers. Inclusion criteria were: 1) clinical optic neuropathy; 2) optic nerve/sheath enhancement on neuroimaging; 3) pathological confirmation of systemic or nervous system sarcoidosis. RESULTS: Fifty-one patients were included. The median onset age of sarcoid optic neuropathy was 50 years (range, 17-70 years) and 71% were female. The median visual acuity at nadir in the most affected eye was 20/80 (range, 20/20 to no-light-perception). Thirty-four of 50 (68%) patients had radiologic evidence of other nervous system involvement and 20 (39%) patients had symptoms/signs of other cranial nerve dysfunction. Cerebrospinal fluid analysis revealed an elevated white blood cell count in 22 of 31 (71%) patients (median: 14/μL; range: 1-643/μL). Pathologic confirmation of sarcoidosis was by biopsy of systemic/pulmonary site, 34 (67%); optic nerve/sheath, 9 (18%); or other nervous system region, 8 (16%). Forty patients improved with treatment (78%), 98% receiving corticosteroids and 65% receiving steroid-sparing immunosuppressants, yet 11/46 patients (24%) had a visual acuity of 20/200 or worse at last follow-up. CONCLUSIONS: Sarcoid optic neuropathy frequently occurs with other clinical and radiologic abnormalities caused by neurosarcoidosis and diagnostic confirmation occasionally requires optic nerve/sheath biopsy. Improvement with treatment is common but most patients have some residual visual disability. Improved recognition and a more expeditious diagnosis and treatment may spare patients from permanent vision loss.

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