Reduced vessel density in deep capillary plexus correlates with retinal layer thickness in choroideremia
Arrigo A., Romano F., Parodi MB., Charbel Issa P., Birtel J., Bandello F., MacLaren RE.
Background To assess retinal layer thickness in choroideremia (CHM) and to reveal its correlation with optical coherence tomography (OCT) angiography (OCTA) findings. Methods The study was designed as an observational, cross-sectional clinical series of patients with CHM, which included 14 CHM eyes and 14 age-matched controls. Multimodal imaging included OCT and OCTA. The vessel density (VD) of superficial capillary (SCP), deep capillary (DCP) and choriocapillaris (CC) plexuses was analysed by OCTA. The apparently preserved retinal islet and atrophic regions were investigated separately. Main outcome measures were as follows: best-corrected visual acuity (BCVA), total retinal layers, ganglion cell layer (GCL), inner plexiform layer (IPL), inner nuclear layer (INL), outer plexiform layer (OPL), outer nuclear layer (ONL), ellipsoid zone-retinal pigment epithelium (EZ-RPE) layer, choroidal thickness and VDs of SCP, DCP and of CC. Results Mean BCVA was 0.0±0.0 LogMAR in both groups. GCL, ONL, EZ-RPE and choroid were significantly thinned in CHM, particularly in the atrophic region. OPL was unaffected in the apparently preserved islet, whereas INL and IPL were similarly thinned in the atrophic and apparently preserved retina. DCP appeared severely affected in both regions, while CC was only altered in the atrophic retina. Significant correlations were found between OCT and OCTA parameters. Conclusions Our study showed severe alterations in both outer and inner retinal layers of patients with CHM. The extended retinal involvement might be the consequence of neuronal and vascular trophic factor reduction produced by the primarily altered RPE and/or secondary Müller glial cell reaction.