Outer Retinal Layer Thickness Changes in White Matter Hyperintensity and Parkinson's Disease

Yitian Zhao, Jinyu Zhao, Yuanyuan Gu, Bang Chen, Jiaqi Guo, Jianyang Xie, Qifeng Yan, Yuhui Ma, Yufei Wu, Jiong Zhang, Qinkang Lu, Jiang Liu

Research output: Journal PublicationArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: To investigate the thickness changes of outer retinal layers in subjects with white matter hyperintensities (WMH) and Parkinson's Disease (PD). Methods: 56 eyes from 31 patients with WMH, 11 eyes from 6 PD patients, and 58 eyes from 32 healthy controls (HC) were enrolled in this study. A macular-centered scan was conducted on each participant using a spectral-domain optical coherence tomography (SD-OCT) device. After speckle noise reduction, a state-of-the-art deep learning method (i.e., a context encoder network) was employed to segment the outer retinal layers from OCT B-scans. Thickness quantification of the outer retinal layers was conducted on the basis of the segmentation results. Results: WMH patients had significantly thinner Henle fiber layers, outer nuclear layers (HFL+ONL) and photoreceptor outer segments (OS) than HC (p = 0.031, and p = 0.005), while PD patients showed a significant increase of mean thickness in the interdigitation zone and the retinal pigment epithelium/Bruch complex (IZ+RPE) (19.619 ± 4.626) compared to HC (17.434 ± 1.664). There were no significant differences in the thickness of the outer plexiform layer (OPL), the myoid and ellipsoid zone (MEZ), and the IZ+RPE layer between WMH and HC subjects. Similarly, there were also no obvious differences in the thickness of the OPL, HFL+ONL, MEZ and the OS layer between PD and HC subjects. Conclusion: Thickness changes in HFL+ONL, OS, and IZ+RPE layers may correlate with brain-related diseases such as WMH and PD. Further longitudinal study is needed to confirm HFL+ONL/OS/IZ+RPE layer thickness as potential biomarkers for detecting certain brain-related diseases.

Original languageEnglish
Article number741651
JournalFrontiers in Neuroscience
Publication statusPublished - 14 Sept 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • OCT images
  • Parkinson's disease
  • deep learning
  • outer retinal layers
  • white matter hyperintensities

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience


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