Optic neuritis is a frequent initial manifestation of MS and is often used as a model for studying the mechanisms of axonal loss and myelination in MS. In contrast to most brain lesions, the effects of MS lesions on the optic nerve are clinically apparent and potentially measurable. It was suggested that the effect of demyelination on conduction change can be measured by the delay of electrical signals across the optic nerve. However, this assumption has never been directly tested.
Associate Professor Alexander Klistorner and his colleagues will investigate the relationship between the length of the area of inflammatory demyelination (lesion) within the optic nerve and the degree of signal delay.
The newly developed technique of multifocal visual evoked potentials (mfVEP), which will be used in this study, provides better representation of the optic nerve conductivity as compared to traditionally used techniques. This study will help to validate latency of mfVEP as a measure of de/remyelination of the optic nerve.
If successful, the study will validate an inexpensive, highly sensitive and reproducible method of measuring the degree of de/remyelination in the optic nerve model of MS which is easy to perform (takes 15-20 min) and can be frequently (practically on a daily basis) repeated and may prove to be invaluable in testing the effect of new remyelinating strategies, with many close to testing.
The first step of this study looked for correlations between the length of the area of the lesion detected by MRI and the latency delay as measured by the mfVEP technique. So far, thirty people with MS have been enrolled and tested as part of this study. Preliminary findings show an excellent correlation between the lesion length and the delay in the VEP conduction time.
mfVEP is an inexpensive, highly sensitive and reproducible method of measuring the degree of de/remyelination in the optic nerve model of MS which is easy to perform, fast (taking only 15-20 minutes) and can be frequently repeated. This technique will prove to be invaluable in testing the effect of new remyelinating strategies.
Updated: 20 June 2012
Updated: 06 January, 2011