Anatomy and Neuroscience - Research Publications

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    Optic Nerve Diffusion Tensor Imaging after Acute Optic Neuritis Predicts Axonal and Visual Outcomes
    van der Walt, A ; Kolbe, SC ; Wang, YE ; Klistorner, A ; Shuey, N ; Ahmadi, G ; Paine, M ; Marriott, M ; Mitchell, P ; Egan, GF ; Butzkueven, H ; Kilpatrick, TJ ; Villoslada, P (PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE, 2013-12-26)
    BACKGROUND: Early markers of axonal and clinical outcomes are required for early phase testing of putative neuroprotective therapies for multiple sclerosis (MS). OBJECTIVES: To assess whether early measurement of diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) parameters (axial and radial diffusivity) within the optic nerve during and after acute demyelinating optic neuritis (ON) could predict axonal (retinal nerve fibre layer thinning and multi-focal visual evoked potential amplitude reduction) or clinical (visual acuity and visual field loss) outcomes at 6 or 12 months. METHODS: Thirty-seven patients presenting with acute, unilateral ON were studied at baseline, one, three, six and 12 months using optic nerve DTI, clinical and paraclinical markers of axonal injury and clinical visual dysfunction. RESULTS: Affected nerve axial diffusivity (AD) was reduced at baseline, 1 and 3 months. Reduced 1-month AD correlated with retinal nerve fibre layer (RNFL) thinning at 6 (R=0.38, p=0.04) and 12 months (R=0.437, p=0.008) and VEP amplitude loss at 6 (R=0.414, p=0.019) and 12 months (R=0.484, p=0.003). AD reduction at three months correlated with high contrast visual acuity at 6 (ρ = -0.519, p = 0.001) and 12 months (ρ = -0.414, p=0.011). The time-course for AD reduction for each patient was modelled using a quadratic regression. AD normalised after a median of 18 weeks and longer normalisation times were associated with more pronounced RNFL thinning and mfVEP amplitude loss at 12 months. Affected nerve radial diffusivity (RD) was unchanged until three months, after which time it remained elevated. CONCLUSIONS: These results demonstrate that AD reduces during acute ON. One month AD reduction correlates with the extent of axonal loss and persistent AD reduction at 3 months predicts poorer visual outcomes. This suggests that acute ON therapies that normalise optic nerve AD by 3 months could also promote axon survival and improve visual outcomes.
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    Characterization of the human myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein antibody response in demyelination
    Tea, F ; Lopez, JA ; Ramanathan, S ; Merheb, V ; Lee, FXZ ; Zou, A ; Pilli, D ; Patrick, E ; van der Walt, A ; Monif, M ; Tantsis, EM ; Yiu, EM ; Vucic, S ; Henderson, APD ; Fok, A ; Fraser, CL ; Lechner-Scott, J ; Reddel, SW ; Broadley, S ; Barnett, MH ; Brown, DA ; Lunemann, JD ; Dale, RC ; Brilot, F ; Sinclair, A ; Kermode, AG ; Kornberg, A ; Bye, A ; McGettigan, B ; Trewin, B ; Brew, B ; Taylor, B ; Bundell, C ; Miteff, C ; Troedson, C ; Pridmore, C ; Spooner, C ; Yiannikas, C ; O'Gorman, C ; Clark, D ; Suan, D ; Jones, D ; Kilfoyle, D ; Gill, D ; Wakefield, D ; Hofmann, D ; Mathey, E ; O'Grady, G ; Jones, HF ; Beadnall, H ; Butzkueven, H ; Joshi, H ; Andrews, I ; Sutton, I ; MacIntyre, J ; Sandbach, JM ; Freeman, J ; King, J ; O'Neill, JH ; Parratt, J ; Barton, J ; Garber, J ; Ahmad, K ; Riney, K ; Buzzard, K ; Kothur, K ; Cantrill, LC ; Menezes, MP ; Paine, MA ; Marriot, M ; Ghadiri, M ; Boggild, M ; Lawlor, M ; Badve, M ; Ryan, M ; Aaqib, M ; Shuey, N ; Jordan, N ; Urriola, N ; Lawn, N ; White, O ; McCombe, P ; Patel, R ; Leventer, R ; Webster, R ; Smith, R ; Gupta, S ; Mohammad, SS ; Pillai, S ; Hawke, S ; Simon, S ; Calvert, S ; Blum, S ; Malone, S ; Hodgkinson, S ; Nguyen, TK ; Hardy, TA ; Kalincik, T ; Ware, T ; Fung, VSC ; Huynh, W (BMC, 2019-09-03)
    Over recent years, human autoantibodies targeting myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein (MOG Ab) have been associated with monophasic and relapsing central nervous system demyelination involving the optic nerves, spinal cord, and brain. While the clinical relevance of MOG Ab detection is becoming increasingly clear as therapeutic and prognostic differences from multiple sclerosis are acknowledged, an in-depth characterization of human MOG Ab is required to answer key challenges in patient diagnosis, treatment, and prognosis. Herein, we investigated the epitope, binding sensitivity, and affinity of MOG Ab in a cohort of 139 and 148 MOG antibody-seropositive children and adults (n = 287 patients at baseline, 130 longitudinal samples, and 22 cerebrospinal fluid samples). MOG extracellular domain was also immobilized to determine the affinity of MOG Ab. MOG Ab response was of immunoglobulin G1 isotype, and was of peripheral rather than intrathecal origin. High affinity MOG Ab were detected in 15% paediatric and 18% adult sera. More than 75% of paediatric and adult MOG Ab targeted a dominant extracellular antigenic region around Proline42. MOG Ab titers fluctuated over the progression of disease, but affinity and reactivity to Proline42 remained stable. Adults with a relapsing course intrinsically presented with a reduced immunoreactivity to Proline42 and had a more diverse MOG Ab response, a feature that may be harnessed for predicting relapse. Higher titers of MOG Ab were observed in more severe phenotypes and during active disease, supporting the pathogenic role of MOG Ab. Loss of MOG Ab seropositivity was observed upon conformational changes to MOG, and this greatly impacted the sensitivity of the detection of relapsing disorders, largely considered as more severe. Careful consideration of the binding characteristics of autoantigens should be taken into account when detecting disease-relevant autoantibodies.
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    Early imaging predictors of longer term multiple sclerosis risk and severity in acute optic neuritis
    Gajamange, S ; Stankovich, J ; Egan, G ; Kilpatrick, T ; Butzkueven, H ; Fielding, J ; van der Walt, A ; Kolbe, S (SAGE PUBLICATIONS INC, 2019-07-01)
    BACKGROUND: Biomarkers are urgently required for predicting the likely progression of multiple sclerosis (MS) at the earliest stages of the disease to aid in personalised therapy. OBJECTIVE: We aimed to examine early brain volumetric and microstructural changes and retinal nerve fibre layer thinning as predictors of longer term MS severity in patients with clinically isolated syndromes (CIS). METHODS: Lesion metrics, brain and regional atrophy, diffusion fractional anisotropy and retinal nerve fibre layer thickness were prospectively assessed in 36 patients with CIS over the first 12 months after presentation and compared with clinical outcomes at longer term follow-up [median (IQR) = 8.5 (7.8-8.9) years]. RESULTS: In total, 25 (69%) patients converted to MS and had greater baseline lesion volume (p = 0.008) and number (p = 0.03)than CIS patients. Over the initial 12 months, new lesions (p = 0.0001), retinal nerve fibre layer thinning (p = 0.04) and ventricular enlargement (p = 0.03) were greater in MS than CIS patients. In MS patients, final Expanded Disability Status Scale score correlated with retinal nerve fibre layer thinning over the first 12 months (ρ = -0.67, p = 0.001). CONCLUSIONS: Additional to lesion metrics, early measurements of fractional anisotropy and retinal nerve fibre layer thinning are informative about longer term clinical outcomes in CIS.
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    Optic Nerve Magnetisation Transfer Ratio after Acute Optic Neuritis Predicts Axonal and Visual Outcomes
    Wang, Y ; van der Walt, A ; Paine, M ; Klistorner, A ; Butzkueven, H ; Egan, GF ; Kilpatrick, TJ ; Kolbe, SC ; Villoslada, P (PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE, 2012-12-18)
    Magnetisation transfer ratio (MTR) can reveal the degree of proton exchange between free water and macromolecules and was suggested to be pathological informative. We aimed to investigate changes in optic nerve MTR over 12 months following acute optic neuritis (ON) and to determine whether MTR measurements can predict clinical and paraclinical outcomes at 6 and 12 months. Thirty-seven patients with acute ON were studied within 2 weeks of presentation and at 1, 3, 6 and 12 months. Assessments included optic nerve MTR, retinal nerve fibre layer (RNFL) thickness, multifocal visual evoked potential (mfVEP) amplitude and latency and high (100%) and low (2.5%) contrast letter acuity. Eleven healthy controls were scanned twice four weeks apart for comparison with patients. Patient unaffected optic nerve MTR did not significantly differ from controls at any time-point. Compared to the unaffected nerve, affected optic nerve MTR was significantly reduced at 3 months (mean percentage interocular difference = -9.24%, p = 0.01), 6 months (mean = -12.48%, p<0.0001) and 12 months (mean = -7.61%, p = 0.003). Greater reduction in MTR at 3 months in patients was associated with subsequent loss of high contrast letter acuity at 6 (ρ = 0.60, p = 0.0003) and 12 (ρ = 0.44, p = 0.009) months, low contrast letter acuity at 6 (ρ = 0.35, p = 0.047) months, and RNFL thinning at 12 (ρ = 0.35, p = 0.044) months. Stratification of individual patient MTR time courses based on flux over 12 months (stable, putative remyelination and putative degeneration) predicted RNFL thinning at 12 months (F(2,32) = 3.59, p = 0.02). In conclusion, these findings indicate that MTR flux after acute ON is predictive of axonal degeneration and visual disability outcomes.
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    Parallel Changes in Structural and Functional Measures of Optic Nerve Myelination after Optic Neuritis
    van der Walt, A ; Kolbe, S ; Mitchell, P ; Wang, Y ; Butzkueven, H ; Egan, G ; Yiannikas, C ; Graham, S ; Kilpatrick, T ; Klistorner, A ; Frishman, L (PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE, 2015-05-28)
    INTRODUCTION: Visual evoked potential (VEP) latency prolongation and optic nerve lesion length after acute optic neuritis (ON) corresponds to the degree of demyelination, while subsequent recovery of latency may represent optic nerve remyelination. We aimed to investigate the relationship between multifocal VEP (mfVEP) latency and optic nerve lesion length after acute ON. METHODS: Thirty acute ON patients were studied at 1, 3, 6 and 12 months using mfVEP and at 1 and 12 months with optic nerve MRI. LogMAR and low contrast visual acuity were documented. By one month, the mfVEP amplitude had recovered sufficiently for latency to be measured in 23 (76.7%) patients with seven patients having no recordable mfVEP in more than 66% of segments in at least one test. Only data from these 23 patients was analysed further. RESULTS: Both latency and lesion length showed significant recovery during the follow-up period. Lesion length and mfVEP latency were highly correlated at 1 (r = 0.94, p = <0.0001) and 12 months (r = 0.75, p < 0.001). Both measures demonstrated a similar trend of recovery. Speed of latency recovery was faster in the early follow-up period while lesion length shortening remained relatively constant. At 1 month, latency delay was worse by 1.76 ms for additional 1mm of lesion length while at 12 months, 1mm of lesion length accounted for 1.94 ms of latency delay. CONCLUSION: A strong association between two putative measures of demyelination in early and chronic ON was found. Parallel recovery of both measures could reflect optic nerve remyelination.
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    Technologies for Advanced Gait and Balance Assessments in People with Multiple Sclerosis
    Shanahan, CJ ; Boonstra, FMC ; Lizama, LEC ; Strik, M ; Moffat, BA ; Khan, F ; Kilpatrick, TJ ; van der Walt, A ; Galea, MP ; Kolbe, SC (FRONTIERS MEDIA SA, 2018-02-02)
    Subtle gait and balance dysfunction is a precursor to loss of mobility in multiple sclerosis (MS). Biomechanical assessments using advanced gait and balance analysis technologies can identify these subtle changes and could be used to predict mobility loss early in the disease. This update critically evaluates advanced gait and balance analysis technologies and their applicability to identifying early lower limb dysfunction in people with MS. Non-wearable (motion capture systems, force platforms, and sensor-embedded walkways) and wearable (pressure and inertial sensors) biomechanical analysis systems have been developed to provide quantitative gait and balance assessments. Non-wearable systems are highly accurate, reliable and provide detailed outcomes, but require cumbersome and expensive equipment. Wearable systems provide less detail but can be used in community settings and can provide real-time feedback to patients and clinicians. Biomechanical analysis using advanced gait and balance analysis technologies can identify changes in gait and balance in early MS and consequently have the potential to significantly improve monitoring of mobility changes in MS.
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    Fibre-specific white matter changes in multiple sclerosis patients with optic neuritis
    Gajamange, S ; Raffelt, D ; Dhollander, T ; Lui, E ; van der Walt, A ; Kilpatrick, T ; Fielding, J ; Connelly, A ; Kolbe, S (ELSEVIER SCI LTD, 2018-01-01)
    Long term irreversible disability in multiple sclerosis (MS) is thought to be primarily driven by axonal degeneration. Axonal degeneration leads to degenerative atrophy, therefore early markers of axonal degeneration are required to predict clinical disability and treatment efficacy. Given that additional pathologies such as inflammation, demyelination and oedema are also present in MS, it is essential to develop axonal markers that are not confounded by these processes. The present study investigated a novel method for measuring axonal degeneration in MS based on high angular resolution diffusion magnetic resonance imaging. Unlike standard methods, this novel method involved advanced acquisition and modelling for improved axonal sensitivity and specificity. Recent work has developed analytical methods, two novel axonal markers, fibre density and cross-section, that can be estimated for each fibre direction in each voxel (termed a "fixel"). This technique, termed fixel-based analysis, thus simultaneously estimates axonal density and white matter atrophy from specific white matter tracts. Diffusion-weighted imaging datasets were acquired for 17 patients with a history of acute unilateral optic neuritis (35.3 ± 10.2 years, 11 females) and 14 healthy controls (32.7 ± 4.8 years, 8 females) on a 3 T scanner. Fibre density values were compared to standard diffusion tensor imaging parameters (fractional anisotropy and mean diffusivity) in lesions and normal appearing white matter. Group comparisons were performed for each fixel to assess putative differences in fibre density and fibre cross-section. Fibre density was observed to have a comparable sensitivity to fractional anisotropy for detecting white matter pathology in MS, but was not affected by crossing axonal fibres. Whole brain fixel-based analysis revealed significant reductions in fibre density and fibre cross-section in the inferior fronto-occipital fasciculus (including the optic radiations) of patients compared to controls. We interpret this result to indicate that this fixel-based approach is able to detect early loss of fibre density and cross-section in the optic radiations in MS patients with a history of optic neuritis. Fibre-specific markers of axonal degeneration should be investigated further for use in early stage therapeutic trials, or to monitor axonal injury in early stage MS.
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    Serial Diffusion Tensor Imaging of the Optic Radiations after Acute Optic Neuritis
    Kolbe, SC ; van der Walt, A ; Butzkueven, H ; Klistorner, A ; Egan, GF ; Kilpatrick, TJ (HINDAWI LTD, 2016-01-01)
    Previous studies have reported diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) changes within the optic radiations of patients after optic neuritis (ON). We aimed to study optic radiation DTI changes over 12 months following acute ON and to study correlations between DTI parameters and damage to the optic nerve and primary visual cortex (V1). We measured DTI parameters [fractional anisotropy (FA), axial diffusivity (AD), radial diffusivity (RD), and mean diffusivity (MD)] from the optic radiations of 38 acute ON patients at presentation and 6 and 12 months after acute ON. In addition, we measured retinal nerve fibre layer thickness, visual evoked potential amplitude, optic radiation lesion load, and V1 thickness. At baseline, FA was reduced and RD and MD were increased compared to control. Over 12 months, FA reduced in patients at an average rate of -2.6% per annum (control = -0.51%; p = 0.006). Change in FA, RD, and MD correlated with V1 thinning over 12 months (FA: R = 0.450, p = 0.006; RD: R = -0.428, p = 0.009; MD: R = -0.365, p = 0.029). In patients with no optic radiation lesions, AD significantly correlated with RNFL thinning at 12 months (R = 0.489, p = 0.039). In conclusion, DTI can detect optic radiation changes over 12 months following acute ON that correlate with optic nerve and V1 damage.
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    Multiple Sclerosis Susceptibility-Associated SNPs Do Not Influence Disease Severity Measures in a Cohort of Australian MS Patients
    Jensen, CJ ; Stankovich, J ; Van der Walt, A ; Bahlo, M ; Taylor, BV ; van der Mei, IAF ; Foote, SJ ; Kilpatrick, TJ ; Johnson, LJ ; Wilkins, E ; Field, J ; Danoy, P ; Brown, MA ; Rubio, JP ; Butzkueven, H ; Kleinschnitz, C (PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE, 2010-04-02)
    Recent association studies in multiple sclerosis (MS) have identified and replicated several single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) susceptibility loci including CLEC16A, IL2RA, IL7R, RPL5, CD58, CD40 and chromosome 12q13-14 in addition to the well established allele HLA-DR15. There is potential that these genetic susceptibility factors could also modulate MS disease severity, as demonstrated previously for the MS risk allele HLA-DR15. We investigated this hypothesis in a cohort of 1006 well characterised MS patients from South-Eastern Australia. We tested the MS-associated SNPs for association with five measures of disease severity incorporating disability, age of onset, cognition and brain atrophy. We observed trends towards association between the RPL5 risk SNP and time between first demyelinating event and relapse, and between the CD40 risk SNP and symbol digit test score. No associations were significant after correction for multiple testing. We found no evidence for the hypothesis that these new MS disease risk-associated SNPs influence disease severity.