Association of retinal nerve layers thickness and brain imaging in healthy young subjects from the i‐Share‐Bordeaux study

Sara Cristina Lima Rebouças, Fabrice Crivello, Ami Tsuchida, Christophe Tzourio, Cédric Schweitzer, Jean‐François Korobelnik, Cécile Delcourt, Catherine Helmer
Human Brain Mapping. 2023-07-04; :
DOI: 10.1002/hbm.26412

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Lima Rebouças SC(1), Crivello F(2), Tsuchida A(2), Tzourio C(3), Schweitzer C(4), Korobelnik JF(4), Delcourt C(1), Helmer C(1).

Author information:
(1)University of Bordeaux, INSERM, BPH, U1219, Bordeaux, France.
(2)University of Bordeaux, CNRS, CEA, IMN, GIN, Bordeaux, France.
(3)Bordeaux University Hospital, Bordeaux, France.
(4)Department of Ophthalmology, Bordeaux University Hospital, Bordeaux, France.

Given the anatomical and functional similarities between the retina and the brain, the retina could be a « window » for viewing brain structures. We
investigated the association between retinal nerve fiber layers (peripapillary retinal nerve fiber layer, ppRNFL; macular ganglion cell-inner plexiform layer, GC-IPL; and macular ganglion cell complex, GCC), and brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) parameters in young health adults. We included 857 students (mean age: 23.3 years, 71.3% women) from the i-Share study. We used multivariate linear models to study the cross-sectional association of each retinal nerve layer thickness assessed by spectral-domain optical coherence tomography (SD-OCT) with structural (volumes and cortical thickness), and microstructural brain markers, assessed on MRI globally and regionally. Microstructural MRI
parameters included diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) and Neurite Orientation Dispersion and Density Imaging (NODDI). On global brain analysis, thicker ppRNFL, GC-IPL and GCC were all significantly associated with patterns of diffusion metrics consistent with higher WM microstructural integrity. In regional analyses, after multiple testing corrections, our results suggested significant associations of some retinal nerve layers with brain regional gray matter occipital volumes and with diffusion MRI parameters in a region involved in the visual pathway and in regions containing associative tracts. No associations were found with global volumes or with global or regional cortical thicknesses. Results of this study suggest that some retinal nerve layers may reflect brain structures. Further studies are needed to confirm these results in young subjects.

© 2023 The Authors. Human Brain Mapping published by Wiley Periodicals LLC.


Auteurs Bordeaux Neurocampus