Multifocal VEP provide electrophysiological evidence of predominant dysfunction of the optic nerve fibers derived from the central retina in Leber’s hereditary optic neuropathy

Lucia Ziccardi, Vincenzo Parisi, Daniela Giannini, Federico Sadun, Anna Maria De Negri, Piero Barboni, Chiara La Morgia, Alfedo A. Sadun, Valerio Carelli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Purpose: To differentiate the bioelectrical cortical responses driven by axons from central and mid-peripheral retina in Leber’s hereditary optic neuropathy (LHON) by using multifocal visual evoked potentials (mfVEP). Methods: Seventeen genetically confirmed LHON patients (33.35 ± 8.4 years, 17 eyes) and 22 age-matched controls (C) (38.2 ± 6.0 years, 22 eyes) were studied by mfVEP and optical coherence tomography. MfVEP P1 implicit time (P1 IT, ms) and response amplitude density of the N1-P1 components (N1-P1 RAD, nV/deg2) of the second order binary kernel were measured for five concentric retinal areas between the fovea and mid-periphery: 0–20 degrees (R1 to R5). Results: Mean mfVEP P1 ITs and N1-P1 RADs at all five foveal eccentricities were significantly different (p <0.01) in LHON when compared to controls. In both groups, mean mfVEP responses obtained from R1 to R5 showed a progressive shortening of P1 ITs (linear fitting, LHON: r = −0.95; C: r = −0.98) and decrease of N1-P1 RADs (exponential fitting, LHON: r2 = 0.94; C: r2 = 0.93). The slope of the linear fitting between mean mfVEP P1 ITs in the two groups was about three times greater in LHON than in controls (LHON: y = −13.33x +182.03; C: y = −4.528x +108.1). MfVEP P1 ITs detected in R1 and R2 (0–5 degrees) were significantly correlated (p <0.01) with the reduction of retinal nerve fiber layer thickness of the temporal quadrant. Conclusions: MfVEP identifies abnormal neural conduction along the visual pathways in LHON, discriminating a predominant involvement of axons driving responses from the central retina when compared to those serving the mid-peripheral retina.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1591-1600
Number of pages10
JournalGraefe's Archive for Clinical and Experimental Ophthalmology
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sep 26 2015



  • Leber’s hereditary optic neuropathy
  • LHON
  • Mitochondrial optic neuropathy
  • Multifocal visual evoked potentials
  • Retinal ganglion cells function

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Medicine(all)

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