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Deep Learning-Facilitated Study of the Rate of Change in Photoreceptor Outer Segment Metrics in RPGR-Related X-Linked Retinitis Pigmentosa

Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2023 Nov 1;64(14):31. doi: 10.1167/iovs.64.14.31.


PURPOSE: The aim of this retrospective cohort study was to obtain three-dimensional (3D) photoreceptor outer segment (OS) metrics measurements with the assistance of a deep learning model (DLM) and to evaluate the longitudinal change in OS metrics and associated factors in retinitis pigmentosa GTPase regulator (RPGR) X-linked retinitis pigmentosa (XLRP).

METHODS: The study included 34 male patients with RPGR-associated XLRP who had preserved ellipsoid zone (EZ) within their spectral-domain optical coherence tomography volume scans and an approximate 2-year or longer follow-up. Volume scans were segmented using a DLM with manual correction for EZ and apical retinal pigment epithelium (RPE). OS metrics were measured from 3D EZ-RPE layers of volume scans. Linear mixed-effects models were used to calculate the rate of change in OS metrics and the associated factors, including baseline age, baseline OS metrics, and follow-up duration.

RESULTS: The mean (standard deviation) of progression rates were -0.28 (0.43) µm/y, -0.73 (0.61) mm2/y, and -0.014 (0.012) mm3/y for OS thickness, EZ area, and OS volume, respectively. In multivariable analysis, the progression rates of EZ area and OS volume were strongly associated with their baseline values, with faster decline in eyes with larger baseline values (P ≤ 0.003), and nonlinearly associated with the baseline age (P ≤ 0.003). OS thickness decline was not associated with its baseline value (P = 0.32).

CONCLUSIONS: These results provide evidence to support using OS metrics as biomarkers to assess the progression of XLRP and as the outcome measures of clinical trials. Given that their progression rates are dependent on their baseline values, the baseline EZ area and OS volume should be considered in the design and statistical analysis of future clinical trials. Deep learning may provide a useful tool to reduce the burden of human graders to analyze OCT scan images and to facilitate the assessment of disease progression and treatment trials for retinitis pigmentosa.

PMID:37988107 | DOI:10.1167/iovs.64.14.31

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