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Racial differences in retinal neurodegeneration as a surrogate marker for cortical atrophy in multiple sclerosis

  • Samuel Lichtman-Mikol
    Affiliations
    The Sastry Family Foundation, Advanced Imaging Laboratory, Department of Neurology, Wayne State University School of Medicine, 4201 St. Antoine, Detroit, MI, USA
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  • Sara Razmjou
    Affiliations
    The Sastry Family Foundation, Advanced Imaging Laboratory, Department of Neurology, Wayne State University School of Medicine, 4201 St. Antoine, Detroit, MI, USA

    Multiple Sclerosis Center, Wayne State University School of Medicine, Detroit, MI, USA
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  • Kalyan Yarraguntla
    Affiliations
    The Sastry Family Foundation, Advanced Imaging Laboratory, Department of Neurology, Wayne State University School of Medicine, 4201 St. Antoine, Detroit, MI, USA
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  • Fen Bao
    Affiliations
    The Sastry Family Foundation, Advanced Imaging Laboratory, Department of Neurology, Wayne State University School of Medicine, 4201 St. Antoine, Detroit, MI, USA
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  • Carla Santiago-Martinez
    Affiliations
    Multiple Sclerosis Center, Wayne State University School of Medicine, Detroit, MI, USA
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  • Navid Seraji-Bozorgzad
    Affiliations
    The Sastry Family Foundation, Advanced Imaging Laboratory, Department of Neurology, Wayne State University School of Medicine, 4201 St. Antoine, Detroit, MI, USA
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  • Evanthia Bernitsas
    Correspondence
    Corresponding author at: The Sastry Family Foundation, Advanced Imaging Laboratory, Department of Neurology, Wayne State University School of Medicine, 4201 St. Antoine, Detroit, MI, USA.
    Affiliations
    The Sastry Family Foundation, Advanced Imaging Laboratory, Department of Neurology, Wayne State University School of Medicine, 4201 St. Antoine, Detroit, MI, USA

    Multiple Sclerosis Center, Wayne State University School of Medicine, Detroit, MI, USA
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      Abstract

      Background

      Multiple sclerosis (MS) has both an inflammatory and a neurodegenerative component, with gray matter (GM) atrophy being an important contributor to disability. Optical coherence tomography (OCT) may serve as a prognostic tool for neuroaxonal health by measuring ganglion cell inner plexiform layer (GCIPL) thickness. There is a paucity of literature regarding the effects of race on pathobiology of MS, as racial minorities are underrepresented in research studies.

      Objective

      The aim of this paper is to compare the correlation between GM fraction (GMF) and GCIPL thickness in Caucasian Americans with MS (CAMS) and African Americans with MS (AAMS).

      Methods

      Fifty-nine patients with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS) were included. Using a cross-sectional design, we compared the OCT (GCIPL thickness) and MRI (GMF) data of 32 CAMS and 27 AAMS patients.

      Results

      No significant correlation was observed between GMF and GCIPL in our study group (p = 0.127, r = 0.148). CAMS exhibited a significant correlation between these measures (p = 0.0004, r = 0.434), while in AAMS these measures did not correlate significantly (p = 0.187, r = −0.201).

      Conclusion

      GCIPL might be a sensitive biomarker predicting GM atrophy and disability in CAMS, but not in AAMS. Larger studies are needed to investigate reliable biomarkers across races. Inclusion of AAMS in research studies is necessary to shed more light on the pathobiology of MS.

      Keywords

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