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Kyle D. Kovacs, Anton Orlin, Dolan Sondhi, Stephen M. Kaminsky, Donald J. D'Amico, Ronald G. Crystal, Szilárd Kiss; Automated Retinal Layer Segmentation in CLN2-Associated Disease: Commercially Available Software Characterizing a Progressive Maculopathy. Trans. Vis. Sci. Tech. 2021;10(8):23. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/tvst.10.8.23.
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CLN2-associated disease is a hereditary, fatal lysosomal storage disorder characterized by progressive brain and retinal deterioration. Here, we characterize the inner and outer retinal degeneration using automated segmentation software in optical coherence tomography scans, providing an objective, quantifiable metric for monitoring subtle changes previously identified with a validated disease classification scale (the Weill Cornell Batten Scale).
This study is a retrospective, single-center cohort review of images from examinations under anesthesia in treatment-naïve patients with CLN2-associated disease. Automated segmentation software was used to delineate retinal nerve fiber, ganglion cell layer (GCL), and outer nuclear layer (ONL) thickness measurements in the fovea, parafovea, and perifovea based on age groups (months): 30 to 38, 39 to 45, 46 to 52, 53 to 59, 60 to 66, and 67 or older.
Twenty-seven eyes from 14 patients were included, with 8 serial images yielding 36 interpretable optical coherence tomography scans. There was a significant difference in parafoveal ONL thickness between 39 to 45 and 46 to 52 months of age (P = 0.032) not seen in other regions or retinal layers. Perifoveal ONL demonstrated a difference in thickness between the 60 to 66 and greater than 67 months age cohorts (P = 0.047). There was strong symmetry between eyes, and high segmentation repeatability.
Parafoveal ONL thickness represents a sensitive, early age indicator of CLN2-associated degeneration. Outer retinal degeneration is apparent at younger ages than inner retinal changes though in treatment-naïve patients all retinal layers showed significant differences between 60 to 66 and more than 67 months of age.
This study establishes sensitive, quantitative biomarkers for assessing retinal degeneration in a large cohort natural history study in anticipation of future clinical trials.
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