The aim of the present study was to investigate the detection value of optical coherence tomography angiography (OCTA) and voxel-based morphometry with diffeomorphic anatomical registration through exponentiated lie algebra (VBM-DARTEL) in normal-tension glaucoma (NTG), as well as the correlation between the two functional indicators. A total of 30 patients (15 males, 15 females) with NTG and 30 (15 males, 15 females) age-, sex- and education-matched healthy controls underwent OCTA and 3.0 T MRI scanning. The OCTA technique was used to scan the optic disc area of all subjects and measure the density of blood vessels around the optic disc; 3.0 T MRI scanning was used to obtain MRI images of the brain structure and the VBM-DARTEL method was applied for image processing using Matlab7.11R2010b (MathWorks). Imaging data were compared between the groups using two-samples t-tests to identify differences in the density of blood vessels around the optic disc and the change in brain parenchyma. Correlation analysis was used to explore associations between the density of blood vessels around the optic disc and the change in brain parenchyma in NTG. The results indicated that the vascular density around the optic disc in the NTG group was significantly decreased compared with that in the control group; the vascular density was decreased with disease progression. The difference between the two groups was statistically significant (P<0.05). The VBM-DARTEL analysis indicated that the volume of the left middle frontal gyrus, right superior frontal gyrus, right precuneus, right angular gyrus and right middle occipital gyrus was decreased, whereas the volume of the right anterior central gyrus was increased. The area under the receiver operating characteristic curve for the local volume difference in brain parenchyma to predict the diagnosis of NTG was >0.7. The area of brain parenchyma reduction was positively correlated with the density of blood vessels around the optic disc (P<0.05), whereas the right anterior central gyrus was negatively correlated with vascular density. In conclusion, OCTA and VBM-DARTEL technology may facilitate non-invasive monitoring of changes in NTG structure and function, and provide non-invasive diagnostic imaging support in the early stage of the disease. These advantages are of great importance in the diagnosis and follow-up of NTG.
Department of Ophthalmology, The First Affiliated Hospital of Nanchang University, Jiangxi Branch of National Clinical Research Center for Ocular Disease, Nanchang, Jiangxi 330006, P.R. China.