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Exploring Vitreous Haze as a Potential Biomarker for Accelerated Glymphatic Outflow and Neurodegeneration in Multiple Sclerosis: A Cross-Sectional Study

Kaçar, S., Coric, D., Ometto, G. ORCID: 0000-0002-0900-4847 , Montesano, G. ORCID: 0000-0002-9148-2804, Denniston, A. K., Keane, P. A., Uitdehaag, B. M. J., Crabb, D. P. ORCID: 0000-0001-8611-1155, Schoonheim, M. M., Petzold, A. & Strijbis, E. M. M. (2023). Exploring Vitreous Haze as a Potential Biomarker for Accelerated Glymphatic Outflow and Neurodegeneration in Multiple Sclerosis: A Cross-Sectional Study. Brain Sciences, 14(1), article number 36. doi: 10.3390/brainsci14010036


Background: The glymphatic system removes neurodegenerative debris. The ocular glymphatic outflow is from the eye to the proximal optic nerve. In multiple sclerosis (MS), atrophy of the optic nerve increases the glymphatic outflow space. Here, we tested whether vitreous haze (VH) can provide novel insights into the relationship between neurodegeneration and the ocular glymphatic system in MS. Methods: This cross-sectional study comprised 315 persons with MS and 87 healthy controls (HCs). VH was quantified from optical coherence tomography (OCT) volume scans. Neurodegeneration was determined on three-dimensional T1 (3DT1) MRI, lesion detection on fluid-attenuated inversion (FLAIR), and layer thickness on OCT. Generalized estimating equations, corrected for age, were used to analyze associations between VH and metrics for neurodegeneration, demographics, and clinical scales. Group differences were determined between mild, moderate, and severe disability. Results: On the group level, VH scores were comparable between MS and control (p = 0.629). In MS, VH scores declined with disease duration (β = −0.009, p = 0.004) and age (β = −0.007, p = 0.001). There was no relation between VH scores and higher age in HCs. In MS patients, VH was related to normalized gray (NGMV, β = 0.001, p = 0.011) and white matter volume (NWMV, β = 0.001, p = 0.003), macular ganglion cell–inner plexiform layer thickness (mGCIPL, β = 0.006, p < 0.001), and peripapillary retinal nerve fiber layer thickness (pRNFL, β = 0.004, p = 0.008). VH was significantly lower in severe compared to mild disability (mean difference −28.86%, p = 0.058). Conclusions: There is a correlation between VH on OCT and disease duration, more severe disability and lower brain volumes in MS. Biologically, these relationships suggest accelerated glymphatic clearance with disease-related atrophy.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: © 2023 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (
Publisher Keywords: glymphatic system, multiple sclerosis, neurodegeneration, optical coherence tomography, vitreous haze
Subjects: R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0321 Neuroscience. Biological psychiatry. Neuropsychiatry
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences
School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Optometry & Visual Sciences
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