Decreased retinal-choroidal blood flow in retinitis pigmentosa as measured by MRI

Yi Zhang, Joseph M. Harrison, Oscar San Emeterio Nateras, Steven Chalfin, Timothy Q. Duong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

63 Scopus citations


Purpose: To evaluate retinal and choroidal blood flow (BF) using high-resolution magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) as well as visual function measured by the electroretinogram (ERG) in patients with retinitis pigmentosa (RP). Methods: MRI studies were performed in 6 RP patients (29-67 years) and 5 healthy volunteers (29-64 years) on a 3-Tesla scanner with a custom-made surface coil. Quantitative BF was measured using the pseudo-continuous arterial spin-labeling technique at 0.5 × 0.8 × 6.0 mm. Full-field ERGs of all patients were recorded. Amplitudes and implicit times of standard ERGs were analyzed. Results: Basal BF in the posterior retinal-choroid was 142 ± 16 ml/100ml/min (or 1.14 ± 0.13 μl/mm2/min) in the control group and was 70 ±19 ml/100ml/min (or 0.56 ± 0.15 μl/mm 2/min) in the RP group. Retinal-choroidal BF was significantly reduced by 52 ± 8 % in RP patients compared to controls (P<0.05). ERG a- and b-wave amplitudes of RP patients were reduced, and b-wave implicit times were delayed. There were statistically significant correlations between a-wave amplitude and BF value (r=0.9, P<0.05) but not between b-wave amplitude and BF value (r =0.7, P=0.2). Conclusions: This study demonstrates a novel non-invasive MRI approach to measure quantitative retinal and choroidal BF in RP patients. We found that retinal-choroidal BF was markedly reduced and significantly correlated with reduced amplitudes of the a-wave of the standard combined ERG.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)187-197
Number of pages11
JournalDocumenta Ophthalmologica
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Electroretinography
  • Magnetic resonance imaging
  • Retinal degeneration
  • Retinal diseases

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Physiology (medical)


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