IMSVISUAL symposium at ACTRIMS 2018 in San Diego

It is our pleasure to invite you to our IMSVISUAL symposium at ACTRIMS (being held in San Diego, California, February 1 – 3), to discuss updates on vision research in multiple sclerosis and related disorders. For the second consecutive year we are fortunate to have secured ACTRIMS as our sponsor.

The symposium, integrated into the ACTRIMS program and CME accredited, will take place on Friday February 2nd from 7am – 8.15am. Please see below the confirmed agenda for talks/speakers during the session. This symposium/session is open to all attendees of the ACTRIMS 2018 forum.

I think this will be an exciting symposium with presentations from
several groups representing existing IMSVISUAL member sites from
around the world.

In addition to the IMSVISUAL symposium, there will also be a separate IMSVISUAL consortium board meeting. This will take place Thursday, February 1st from 10.45am – 12pm. Space for the board meeting is limited to 35 participants so we kindly ask that you register using the link below only if you plan to attend. There should be ample time for discussion and establishing future collaborations during the meeting. Light snacks will also be provided.

We look forward to seeing you all in Florida.

IMSVISUAL symposium ACTRIMS Friday February 2nd

Session Chairs: Shiv Saidha & Alexander Brandt

Symposium Schedule

1: 7am
“Mechanisms of disease progression in MS. Lessons from the anterior visual pathway”
Peter Calabresi

2: 7.20am
“Trials without all the tribulations: Using the Visual System as an outcome in MS”
Ari Green

3: 7.40am
“Complementing NMO Genetics to Visual Pathology”
Benjamin Greenberg

4: 7.52am
“Alterations of retinal vessel structures during multiple sclerosis – new implications for disease monitoring”
Benjamin Knier

5: 8.04am
“OCT and MS Disease Progression: The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly”
Fiona Costello

IMSVISUAL Board Updates

We welcome Dr. Axel Petzold as new member in the IMSVISUAL Board of Directors. Dr. Petzold graduated from the Medical University of Freiburg (Germany). He received his MD in Experimental Ophthalmology with Ted Sharpe (University of Freiburg) and his PhD in Biochemistry with Ed Thompson (University College London). He trained as a neurologist in France (Lyon), Germany (Munich) and the United Kingdom (London). He currently works as consultant neurologist at Moorfields Eye Hospital London UK, the UCL Institute of Neurology and the VU Medical Center Amsterdam. In his research he focusses on axonal degeneration mainly in multiple sclerosis and optic nerve disease but also other diseases and models.

Dr. Petzold follows Dr. Villoslada, who now works at Genentech as Senior Medical Director, Late Clinical Development Neurosciences. We wish Dr. Villoslada all the best at Genentech and thank him for his tremendous effort to found IMSVISUAL.

We also welcome Dr. Lisanne Balk as new member of the IMSVISUAL Working Committee. Dr. Balk is a clinical epidemiologist, currently working as a post-doctoral researcher at the MS Centre, VU Medical Centre Amsterdam. Her research is focused on the use of optical coherence tomography in MS.

IMSVISUAL Meeting at ECTRIMS 2017 in Paris

Dear IMSVISUAL Members, Dear Colleagues,

It is our pleasure to invite you to our next IMSVISUAL Consortium meeting at ECTRIMS in Paris on Friday, October 27, from 5 to 8 p.m. Please see details on the meeting venue in the attached PDF. A meeting agenda will be circulated in the next few weeks. Please indicate your attendance by email to Maria Weinhold (

We encourage all IMSVISUAL members (in particular our younger colleagues) to briefly present ideas for future collaborative research projects within IMSVISUAL as well as recent own research. If you are interested in presenting your work, or would like to share ideas for future projects we suggest that you state this in your registration email and provide a short tentative title.

We are looking forward to seeing you in Paris.

PDF flyer for IMSVISUAL Paris 2017

Slide decks for IMSVISUAL talks at ACTRIMS 2017

Thank you all for attending the IMSVISUAL meeting at ACTRIMS 2017! Here are the slide decks:

Microstructural visual system changes in AQP4-antibody–seropositive NMOSD

IMSVISUAL members from Berlin and Munich in Germany have just published the following paper:

Oertel & Kuchling et al. Neurol Neuroimmunol Neuroinflamm May 2017 vol. 4 no. 3 e334


Objective: To trace microstructural changes in patients with aquaporin-4 antibody (AQP4-ab)-seropositive neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorders (NMOSDs) by investigating the afferent visual system in patients without clinically overt visual symptoms or visual pathway lesions.

Methods: Of 51 screened patients with NMOSD from a longitudinal observational cohort study, we compared 6 AQP4-ab–seropositive NMOSD patients with longitudinally extensive transverse myelitis (LETM) but no history of optic neuritis (ON) or other bout (NMOSD-LETM) to 19 AQP4-ab–seropositive NMOSD patients with previous ON (NMOSD-ON) and 26 healthy controls (HCs). Foveal thickness (FT), peripapillary retinal nerve fiber layer (pRNFL) thickness, and ganglion cell and inner plexiform layer (GCIPL) thickness were measured with optical coherence tomography (OCT). Microstructural changes in the optic radiation (OR) were investigated using diffusion tensor imaging (DTI). Visual function was determined by high-contrast visual acuity (VA). OCT results were confirmed in a second independent cohort.

Results: FT was reduced in both patients with NMOSD-LETM (p = 3.52e−14) and NMOSD-ON (p = 1.24e−16) in comparison with HC. Probabilistic tractography showed fractional anisotropy reduction in the OR in patients with NMOSD-LETM (p = 0.046) and NMOSD-ON (p = 1.50e−5) compared with HC. Only patients with NMOSD-ON but not NMOSD-LETM showed neuroaxonal damage in the form of pRNFL and GCIPL thinning. VA was normal in patients with NMOSD-LETM and was not associated with OCT or DTI parameters.

Conclusions: Patients with AQP4-ab–seropositive NMOSD without a history of ON have microstructural changes in the afferent visual system. The localization of retinal changes around the Müller-cell rich fovea supports a retinal astrocytopathy.

Available as Open Access on the publisher’s website.

Longitudinal Intravital Imaging of the Retina Reveals Long-term Dynamics of Immune Infiltration and Its Effects on the Glial Network in Experimental Autoimmune Uveoretinitis

Scientists from Berlin have developed an intravital multiphoton microscopy prototype for repeated retinal measurements in mice. Using this system, Bremer et al. investigated neuronal dysfunction in the retinal ganglion cell layer in an experimental autoimmune uveoretinitis model.

The results of the study have been published in Frontiers in Immunology on Dec 23rd 2016 and are available in full as open access.