Morphometric stability of the corneal subbasal nerve plexus in healthy individuals a 3-year longitudinal study using corneal confocal microscopy

Dehghani, Cirous, Pritchard, Nicola, Edwards, Katie, Vagenas, Dimitrios, Russell, Anthony W., Malik, Rayaz A., & Efron, Nathan (2014) Morphometric stability of the corneal subbasal nerve plexus in healthy individuals a 3-year longitudinal study using corneal confocal microscopy. Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science, 55(5), pp. 3195-3199.

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Abstract

Purpose

We examined the age-dependent alterations and longitudinal course of subbasal nerve plexus (SNP) morphology in healthy individuals.

Methods

Laser-scanning corneal confocal microscopy, ocular screening, and health and metabolic assessment were performed on 64 healthy participants at baseline and at 12-month intervals for 3 years. At each annual visit, eight central corneal images of the SNP were selected and analyzed using a fully-automated analysis system to quantify corneal nerve fiber length (CNFL). Two linear mixed model approaches were fitted to examine the relationship between age and CNFL, and the longitudinal changes of CNFL over three years.

Results

At baseline, mean age was 51.9 ± 14.7 years. The cohort was sex balanced (χ2 = 0.56, P = 0.45). Age (t = 1.6, P = 0.12) and CNFL (t = -0.50, P = 0.62) did not differ between sexes. A total of 52 participants completed the 36-month visit and 49 participants completed all visits. Age had a significant effect on CNFL (F1,33 = 5.67, P = 0.02) with a linear decrease of 0.05 mm/mm2 in CNFL per one year increase in age. No significant change in CNFL was observed over the 36-month period (F1,55 = 0.69, P = 0.41).

Conclusions

The CNFL showed a stable course over a 36-month period in healthy individuals, although there was a slight linear reduction in CNFL with age. The findings of this study have implications for understanding the time-course of the effect of pathology and surgical or therapeutic interventions on the morphology of the SNP, and serves to confirm the suitability of CNFL as a screening/monitoring marker for peripheral neuropathies.

Impact and interest:

12 citations in Scopus
12 citations in Web of Science®
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ID Code: 75638
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Additional Information: Article can be freely accessed via journal website 6 months after the publication date
Keywords: corneal confocal microscopy, subbasal nerve plexus, age, natural history
DOI: 10.1167/iovs.14-13959
ISSN: 1552-5783
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > OPTOMETRY AND OPHTHALMOLOGY (111300) > Ophthalmology (111301)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > OPTOMETRY AND OPHTHALMOLOGY (111300) > Vision Science (111303)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Current > Schools > School of Optometry & Vision Science
Funding:
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2014 The Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology, Inc.
Deposited On: 28 Aug 2014 00:11
Last Modified: 13 Jan 2015 14:59

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