Clin Anat 2019 Nov 19;32(8):1072-1081. Epub 2019 Aug 19.
Section of Neuroradiology, Department of Radiology, University of Cambridge School of Clinical Medicine, Cambridge, UK.
Sophisticated volume measurements of brain structures on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) may improve specificity in determining long-term progression of multiple sclerosis (MS), but these techniques are laborious. The optic chiasm (OC) is a white matter (WM) structure clearly visible on a routine MRI and is related to the optic nerves (ONs), which are known to atrophy in MS. We hypothesized that OC morphometric measurements would show OC atrophy in MS compared to normal patients. If so, this could help establish a novel simplified brain MRI measure of WM atrophy in MS patients. We retrospectively evaluated standard brain MRIs of 97 patients with known MS and 98 normal individuals. We electronically measured eight OC morphometrics on axial T2WIs and midsagittal T1WIs: OC width and anteroposterior (AP) diameter, diameters of each ON and optic tract (OT), and angles between the ONs or OTs. Mean OC width, AP diameter, and height in MS patients were 11.83 ± 1.25 mm (95% CI 11.58-12.09), 2.99 ± 0.65 mm (95% CI 2.85-3.12), and 2.09 ± 0.37 mm (95% CI 2-2.19), respectively. In normal individuals, they were 12.1 ± 1.4 mm (95% CI 11.78-12.34), 3.43 ± 0.63 mm (95% CI 3.3-3.58), and 2.15 ± 0.37 mm (95% CI 2.07-2.23), respectively. There were statistically significant differences between MS patients and controls for AP diameter (P = 0.000), but not for width (P = 0.204) or height (P = 0.183). The ONs were significantly smaller in MS (P < 0.0017), but not the OTs. Thus, the OC is significantly atrophied in an unstratified cohort of MS patients. Future studies may establish an MRI OC morphometric index to evaluate demyelinating disease in the brain. Clin. Anat. 32:1072-1081, 2019. © 2019 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.